(TNS) — A nine-year-old Bridge Day article from The Register-Herald and The Fayette Tribune went viral over the weekend, garnering more than 89,000 page views and leading many to believe a past BASE jumping accident was recent.
Officials confirm no serious injuries occurred at Bridge Day 2015.
The viral article was posted on FayetteTribune.com on Oct. 23, 2006, and relays the last deadly Bridge Day accident.
The story was shared by its author, former Register-Herald reporter Fred Pace (current editor of The Logan Banner and The Coal Valley News for Civitas Media, Inc.), who attended Bridge Day Saturday for the first time since the accident.
“An old friend contacted me and wanted me to go to Bridge Day this year,” said Pace. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back because of what had happened in 2006. I was underneath the bridge with photographer Lew Whitener. It was one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever covered, and I’ve been in the business 30 years.”
Pace said Bridge Day is an amazing event and he is glad he overcame his fears and returned, but was shocked to return home and discover the story had gone viral, despite his clearly posting that he wrote the story nearly a decade ago.
The story was shared countless times and Charleston-based radio station 97.5 WQBE shared the story on its Facebook page and misreported the death on air, said Pace.
Pace contacted news outlets who had shared the story on their social media sites and many of them removed the post.
But it was too late. The web page was viewed more the 90,000 over Saturday and Sunday.
“This story went viral and is by far the most viewed story in the history of FayetteTribune.com by a pretty wide margin,” J. Daniel Rollins, digital news editor for Beckley Newspapers.
“It’s important to note when sharing a story on social media to always check the date,” he said.
Pace also said people should read articles before reposting on social media, and never just assume a story is breaking news.
In this instance, Pace said he was just sharing a story from his past.
“It is flattering to think other news outlets are trolling my page for breaking news,” he added.
Brian Lee Schubert, 66, of Alta Loma, Calif., died in 2006 after his parachute failed to open fully. His is the only BASE jumping death at Bridge Day since 1987 and the third since the event started in 1980.
A jumper was critically injured but survived lung, pelvic and spinal injuries in 2011 when a parachute failed to open entirely.
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