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Help Identify Two Year Old Tsunami Victim Email

Summary:
Email asks recipients to help identify a small boy who was separated from his family during Asia's tsunami (Full commentary below.)



Status:
Was true, but the child has long since been reunited with his family and the continued circulation of the message is now unnecessary.

Example:(Submitted, January, 2005)
Dear Friends,

Please take a look at the attached picture of this victim (a 2 years old boy) from Tsunami. If you do not know him, please forward his pictures to your friends or organization in your country for further publication.

This boy is about 2 years old. Found and taken from Khao Lak Resort Area,the southern part of Thailand. His parents are missing. His nationality cannot be identified.

Please contact [CONTACT DETAILS REMOVED]
I thank you all for extending kindness to this boy.

With kind regards,

[NAME REMOVED] Thai Airways International PCL"

Hannes Bergstroem




Commentary:
The email and photograph included above began circulating soon after the Asian tsunami disaster of Boxing Day, 2004. The information in the message was valid at that time. However, there is no longer any need to forward the message. Just days after his photograph began circulating, the little boy was identified as then 18-month-old Hannes Bergstroem of Sweden. Once identified, he was quickly reunited with family members.

According to a USA Today article, the boy, Hannes Bergstroem , was reunited with his father after his uncle saw a photograph of him on the Internet.

"His uncle, who spotted the photo, claimed the boy Tuesday and set up the reunion with the father, Marko Karkkainen, at a hospital on the southern Thai island of Phuket where both father and son were receiving treatment."

It is wonderful that email and the Internet helped to bring this little boy back to his family. However, emails such as this often continue to circulate long after there is any valid reason for them to do so. This can clutter inboxes with needless information and weaken the power of future Internet based missing person campaigns.

Thus, if you receive this email, please do not forward it to others and let the sender know that the child's family has now been found.

References:
The net recovers toddler believed lost
Swedish boy is reunited with father in Thailand


Last updated: 17th March 2009
First published: January 2005

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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