Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show LA Metro Station Flooded By 'Hurriquake' -- It's An Amusement Park Ride

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show LA Metro Station Flooded By 'Hurriquake' -- It's An Amusement Park Ride Tram Tour

Is this a video of the Vermont Beverly metro station in Los Angeles flooding due to the August 20, 2023, "hurriquake"? No, that's not true: This video is of a tram tour/amusement park ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. The tour simulates what an earthquake would feel like if the person was in an underground subway car. In multiple videos of the ride on YouTube, Lead Stories found a similar environment in those videos and the video seen on X.

The claim appeared on X (archived here), the website formerly known as Twitter, on August 20, 2023. The caption read:

this is the vermont beverly metro station near my apartment in koreatown after the hurriquake in los angeles

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

Screenshot 2023-08-23 at 2.47.59 PM 1.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Aug 23 18:47:40 2023 UTC)

The word "hurriquake" refers to the combination hurricane and earthquake the Los Angeles area received on August 20, 2023. The Los Angeles Times and Politico both reported on the natural phenomena using the term "hurriquake."

The Vermont Beverly metro station is a real stop on the Los Angeles Metro. Evidence of that is below in a screenshot. The metro map can be found here under "Rail and Busway (Go Metro) Map." The Vermont/Beverly station has been highlighted in blue by Lead Stories:

Screenshot 2023-08-23 at 2.59.18 PM.png

(Source: LA Metro map screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 14:15:27 2023 UTC)

A reverse image search of a screenshot from the video led us to this YouTube video titled "Earthquake - The Big One, Universal Studios Hollywood, Backlot Studio Tram Tour, POV HD 1080p" from 2013. The YouTube video shows people on a tour that simulates being in a subway car while a major earthquake is happening. In both the YouTube video and the X video, the ceiling of the "train station" is the same dark green with yellow reinforcements. Evidence of that similarity are in the following screenshots:

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 11.14.19 AM.png

(Source: X.com screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 15:15:59 2023 UTC)

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 11.31.01 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 15:17:25 2023 UTC)

The point of view of the rider in the YouTube video seems to be farther back than the rider who filmed the video seen on X. In the X video, the water comes down over turnstiles, in front of a hallway and onto the ground. At the beginning of the YouTube video, the viewers are shown two sets of stairs on opposite sides of the platform, both behind multiple turnstiles. This is before the water part of the ride is turned on. The X video has water rushing over the stairs, so they are invisible. While the YouTube video shows the viewer that there are two sets of stairs and two sets of turnstiles, one set of stairs has a metal contraption and a drink advertisement near them, and the other staircase does not. The staircase not near the metal contraption and ad is assumed to be the same one as in the X video. Evidence of these details are in the following screenshots:

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 11.53.02 AM.png

(Source: X.com screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 15:52:39 2023 UTC)

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 11.52.39 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 15:53:02 2023 UTC)

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 1.08.55 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 16:12:38 2023 UTC)

In a second YouTube video of the ride, found after searching the terms "earthquake universal studios," a map is visible on the right-hand side of the station. The map has an orange circle in the middle with four different lines going in different directions. The map is placed next to two shiny, metallic rectangles. The same map and two metallic rectangles can be seen in the X video as well. Both walls are white with a dark shade of red on the upper third. Evidence of those similarities are below:

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 12.35.26 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Aug 16:38:17 2023 UTC)

Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 12.39.08 PM.png

(Source: X.com screenshot taken on Thu Aug 24 16:40:03 2023 UTC)

Both of the YouTube videos in this article mention, in their titles and video descriptions, that this ride took place at the Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on natural disasters are here, here and here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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