Fact Check

Snowboard Death Hoax

Was Mickey Rourke killed in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland?

Published Mar 2, 2014


Claim:   Ralph Macchio was killed in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2014]


Actor - Ralph Macchio Dies In Snowboard Accident

Actor Ralph Macchio is reported to have died shortly after a snowboard accident earlier today - March 2, 2014.

The actor & novice snowboarder was vacationing at the Zermatt ski resort in Zermatt, Switzerland with family and friends. Witnesses indicate that Ralph Macchio lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed.

Ralph Macchio was air lifted by ski patrol teams to a local hospital, however, it is believed that the actor died instantly from the impact of the crash. The actor was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and drugs and alcohol do not appear to have played any part in his death.

Additional details and information will be updated as it becomes available. This story is still developing


Origins:   Web sites such as mediafetcher.com allow users to generate phony news stories about celebrities being killed in Swiss snowboarding accidents by plugging their names into the URL used to access the site. For example, going to https://george.clooney.mediafetcher.com/news/top_stories/actor_skiing.asp produces a fake article about George Clooney's death today in a snowboarding accident.

Every few months another one of these faux user-generated articles is circulated on the Internet to fool the unwary, generating a brief but intense death hoax for the named celebrity. In January 2013, the latest "victim" of this form of hoax was actor Ralph Macchio (of Karate Kid fame), who remains alive and well.

Last updated:   2 March 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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