Fact Check: Natural Disaster Did NOT Batter Tel Aviv Coastline in 2023 -- It's Acapulco, Mexico

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Natural Disaster Did NOT Batter Tel Aviv Coastline in 2023 -- It's Acapulco, Mexico Wrong Location

Did a natural disaster inflict massive damage to the shoreline of Tel Aviv, Israel's central coastal city on the Mediterranean, in October 2023? No, that's not true: Videos circulating on social media to support this claim display an aerial view of the widespread devastation in Acapulco, Mexico, where the colossal category 5 Hurricane Otis made a surprise landfall in the popular beach resort town on the Pacific Ocean on October 25, 2023.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on November 5, 2023. A headline (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) suggested that the destruction was an act of God. It read:

The video in front of you is from Tel Aviv.. Look what God did to them.. He destroyed them.. but 🇮🇱 pays millions and billions so that these videos are not published.

A text in English in a blue bar in the frame, read:

Israel 29/10/2023 🇮🇱.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Tel Aviv2.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Nov 16 14:53:05 2023 UTC)

A Google Lens image search (archived here) by Lead Stories on November 16, 2023, yielded several identical videos showing that the footage was in Acapulco, not Tel Aviv.

Rumble, a Florida-based online platform, posted the same video (archived here) on October 31, 2023, saying the widespread devastation was caused by Hurricane Otis, which formed on October 22, 2023, and dissipated on October 25, 2023. Several other videos with identical aerial footage confirming the location of the destruction were posted on various social media platforms, such as Instagram.

A Google Map search (archived here) by Lead Stories on November 16, 2023, showed Acapulco's large bay area, backed by high-rises and mountains, known as the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, before the devastation caused by the hurricane.

NASA's Earth Observatory said on October 31, 2023, that Hurricane Otis was "one of the strongest storms in recorded history" to hit the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The observatory said Otis, which strengthened from a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane in just over 12 hours, "caught forecasters and the city of Acapulco off-guard when it made landfall on October 25, 2023." It said Otis "knocked over power lines, uprooted trees, and unleashed torrential flooding and landslides" and damaged the surrounding tropical forest.

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  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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