Fact Check

Tsunami Victim - Hannes Bergstroem

Is your help is needed to identify a young tsunami victim and reunite him with his family?

Published Jan 5, 2005

Claim:   Your help is needed to identify a young tsunami victim and reunite him with his family.

Status:   Not any more.  

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

Do you know this boy?

Dear All

Can anybody help?

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 Dr. Anuroj Tharasiriroj of Phuket International Hospital, +66 76 249-400,


Nobody knows who this boy belongs to!

Please send this to all — we mean all! — the people in your entire network.

Looking for his family. The boy, about 2 years old, from Khoa Lak is missing his parents. Nobody knows what country he comes from. If anybody known him please contact us by:
phone 076-249400-4 ext. 1336, 1339 or
e-mail: info@phuket-inter-hospital.co.th


Origins:   Natural disasters of the scale of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004 inevitably end up separating people as they flee for safety or are caught up in the effects of the

disaster, creating a period fraught with worry as family members anxiously search for their loved ones. Sometimes survivors are too sick or injured to get in touch with the rest of their families, sometimes they're well but simply can't get a message through in all the chaos, and sometimes — as in this case — they can't communicate who they are because they're too young or they speak a language rescuers can't understand.

Hannes Bergstroem, a 2-year-old Swedish boy, was caught up in the tsunami that struck Thailand on 26 December 2004 and separated from his father. He was rescued and taken to a hospital (reportedly through the efforts of a Thai princess), where he was treated for scratches and mosquito bites but was otherwise okay. As he was too young to adequately identify himself to rescuers (who didn't even know his nationality) or to provide sufficient information for them to locate his parents, a doctor at Phuket International Hospital in Thailand mailed out the boy's photo on the Internet with an appeal for help with the identification.

Fortunately, this incident had a happy ending: Hannes' uncle spotted the photo on 28 December 2004, and Hannes and his father, Marko Karkkainen, were reunited at the hospital the next day.

Last updated:   5 January 2005


  Sources Sources:

    Associated Press.   "Swedish Boy Found Alone After Tsunami Reunited with Dad."

    CNN.com.   29 December 2004.

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

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