16 April 2013

CRO on the Chris McKenzie story and the Sarasota RSC

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

It's come to the attention of us and many others by now that the Sarasota RSC Twitter, and a related account going by the name Chris King, has posted repeatedly since yesterday about a member and supposed Bear who was caught up in the attack in Boston, Chris McKenzie.

After an extensive search through media outlets, hospital rolls, the BAA participant list for the race, and other related databases for anyone by that name injured in the blasts, nothing has turned up. No hospitals that have treated patients following the blasts in Boston are listing an injured runner or other wise under the name Chris McKenzie, including MassGeneral which we have been told is the hospital McKenzie is reportedly at.

Tweets from the Sarasota RSC began yesterday with one to The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams at 2:56 p.m. stating, "Picture of second explosion! My mate was running. He is safe"

This was followed up by a tweet from the Chris King account to me at 3:08 p.m. as I was tweeting out details from various wire feeds: "my friend is running in Boston and I haven't heard from him yet. I've been calling him for a while now"

By 3:24 p.m. the Sarasota RSC account had given the missing person a name and someone to contact with information: "Club Member Chris McKenzie is MISSING in Boston. Our president @ChrisKing_RFC is trying to connect. Please RT in case he follows anyone"

This message was repeated over the rest of the day.

Following a 10 hour break that coincided with overnight in the UK, the first message to appear with new information was from the Sarasota RSC account: "UPDATE: Chris McKenzie has been traced to a local hospital, however, he has serious injuries."

The Chris King account began tweeting information a short time later, claiming, "Just off cell phone to Hospital - Chris is in a 'serious condition'. I've to phone them back at 7am ET for an update"

Followed by: "It is important to note that the hospital say he is NOT one of the 17 in 'Critical Condition' - However he is severely injured"

By this time it was clear that no participant in the Marathon was named Chris McKenzie, and no systems for tracking the injured nor any hospital we contacted, including MassGeneral, listed a Chris McKenzie as being in their care.

Approximately four hours later the Chris King account tweeted, "UPDATE: Chris McKenzie has suffered severe head and neck injuries, aswell as a broken leg. He will be getting an operation on his leg later"

The Sarasota RSC at this time told the people who had flocked to his account that Chris King was on the ground in Boston and would be the media contact for information on McKenzie:

Various media outlets had picked up the story by this time. We are under the impression that some have pulled their stories.

As this story was under edit the Chris King account posted again with information on McKenzie's status but giving his own name in the update:

To sum up: No runner or spectator injured in the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday can be identified as Chris McKenzie through any systems available to the media.

Furthermore, the restaurant listed as being the current home of the Sarasota RSC has never had any dealings with them, as confirmed in a call this morning.

It is my belief that the Sarasota RSC and related accounts, including the Atlantic Bear Mag, the now closed SFL 3 account, and various others, are related to previous accounts and sites that have plagiarized materials from various Rangers fans' publications.

Reached for a statement, Rangers said, "The club is aware of this and is currently looking into it.”

NARSA President Billy Ferguson, reached for comment, said, "[King] has not responded to one single email nor has he sent a cell number to call regarding his application to NARSA."

We will have more information if and when it comes available.