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- With search-and-rescue efforts still under way, authorities say it will be some time before an investigation can be done in earnest to try to determine what caused the partial collapse of a condo building that’s about a block from where Ivanka Trump reportedly lives.
A conspiracy theory widely shared on Facebook claims that the partial collapse of an oceanside condominium building near Miami was actually an attack aimed at a "high-value target" — Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump.
The claim, posted on the same day as the June 24 collapse, stated:
"What’re the chances that the building ‘collapse’ is 5 buildings south of Ivanka? 50 ppl still missing.. yup more and more convinced they were targeting hvt, if not also destroying evidence and/or closing tunnel entrances. USING THE TUNNELS UNDER THE HOTEL FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE. ‘The building was in OK shape.’ The upscale condo near Miami Beach still collapsed Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside near Miami Beach was completed in 1981. A recent condo sold for $710,000 at the oceanside."
The post, which included photos of the collapse and a map indicating the proximity of Ivanka Trump’s residence to that building, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The day after the collapse, with search-and-rescue efforts still under way, officials said they did not know the cause of the collapse and that it would be some time before an investigation can try to find the cause.
At a media briefing the next afternoon, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said four people had died and 159 remained unaccounted for, but that the numbers were fluid. She said that although search-and-rescue efforts continue, structural engineers eventually would investigate what might have caused the collapse.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also made it clear that it would take some time before an investigation of a possible cause can be fully undertaken. He said:
"We need a definitive explanation for how this could have happened, and that’s an explanation that needs to be an accurate explanation, it’s an explanation that we don’t want to get wrong, obviously, but at the same time I do think it’s important that it’s timely."
Engineering and architectural experts told the New York Times it could take a long time to determine the cause of the collapse, but that possibilities include corroded components, an undermined foundation, or defects in the construction or design.
Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University in Miami, said the building showed signs of land subsidence — a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface — in the 1990s, according to space-based radar data he analyzed. But land subsidence alone likely would not cause a building’s collapse, he said.
Several engineering experts suggested a number of factors could have played a role, including saltwater corroding the concrete and potentially weakening beams that hold up the structure, the Miami Herald reported.
Scientists have long noted the risk of building on the shifting sands of a barrier island such as Miami Beach, especially with rising sea levels, NBC News reported. That may not be the reason for this collapse, but it remains an engineering challenge in the region, the network said.
According to news reports, the Miami home of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom served as White House aides under Donald Trump, is a block away from the building that collapsed. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the couple leased a condo at a building called Arte.
With the cause of the collapse undetermined, and no evidence that it was an intentional act aimed at the former president’s elder daughter, we rate the post False.
Facebook, post, June 24, 2021
Facebook, media briefing video, June 25, 2021
New York Times, "What could have caused the condo building near Miami to collapse?", June 25, 2021
USA Today, "Collapsed Miami condo had been sinking into Earth as early as the 1990s, researchers say," June 25, 2021
Miami Herald, "‘You don’t see buildings falling down in America.’ So why did Surfside tower crumble?", June 24, 2021
Wall Street Journal, "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Lease Miami Condo Following $32 Million Deal on Indian Creek," Jan. 19, 2021
The Hill, "Deadly building collapse just a block from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner home," June 24, 2021
Insider, "UPDATE: 4 dead, dozens more missing after a 12-story Florida condo collapsed," June 25, 2021
Miami-Dade County, emergency declaration, June 24, 2021
Florida International University, "FIU professor: Collapsed Surfside building showed signs of subsidence in ‘90s," June 24, 2021
NBC News, "Cause of Miami condo collapse unclear, but experts say barrier islands present risks," June 25, 2021
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