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Large construction site from above with three cranes

Waterways police train in flooded weisenburger underground car park

Karlsruhe - The waterways police gratefully accepted weisenburger's invitation to use the construction site of the future company headquarters to perform an extraordinary diving exercise. The flooded underground car park offered the water police the rare opportunity to conduct diving exercises in a closed and dark location.

Currently, the future weisenburger headquarters, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, are being built on Ludwig-Erhard-Allee in Karlsruhe. The present construction phase required a flooding of the third underground basement level of the car park with around 7,200 cubic metres of water. 

Seven police divers from all over Baden-Wuerttemberg trained an emergency response in the flooded underground car park of the new weisenburger building. The officers were confronted with completely different challenges those they find when diving in lakes or rivers. Even experienced divers found the conditions in the flooded underground car park to be extremely demanding: on the one hand, the unusual water world was felt to be oppressive compared to open waters – the police divers were confined by concrete walls and a ceiling height of just 2.40 meters. On the other hand, the whole underground deck was completely flooded up to the ceiling, which felt like diving under an ice sheet and prevented resurfacing in case of malfunctioning equipment. An exit through an ice hole had therefore to be found, which in the case of an underground car park was the driveway or the staircase. The absence of daylight was another aggravating psychological factor. The ice-cold water, at only five degrees Celsius, presented another challenge that could not be underestimated.

During heavy rainfalls, underground car parks are often flooded, where police divers are also deployed. The experience in dealing with psychological pressure situations and divers reaching their personal limits also proved to be particularly valuable.