As the death count rises from this weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal, reports have emerged of a far bigger and more newsworthy tragedy.
According to several American journalists in the country, 34-year-old Jason Anderson – who is Justin Bieber’s fourth cousin on his mother’s side – sprained his ankle during the 7.9 magnitude quake.
An IT engineer from Toronto, Anderson was in the country on a Himalayan hiking adventure when the ground gave way beneath him. All members of his 8-man trekking party were slightly injured and were treated at a local hospital.
Reporters covering the tragedy combed hospital records looking for Western sounding names. And after consulting an online genealogy database, one journalist discovered the connection to Bieber.
“I thought it was important the public knew,” says Scott Black, the intrepid researcher who broke the story.
News of Anderson’s injured ankle instantly created a firestorm on social media, with the hashtag #isjasonok? trending worldwide on Twitter this morning.
“I can’t believe how awful this is,” says one Twitter user and Justin Bieber fan from Ontario, CA ”It’s like when it’s just a bunch of brownish looking people, why even bother caring? Am I right?
“But to think something like that could affect Justin Bieber’s own family… Like oh my god. I hope Jason’s OK.”
Jason Anderson has indeed recovered fully from his injuries, and has been assisting local relief efforts before flying home to Canada later this week.
“Honestly, before this happened I didn’t even know I was related to Justin Bieber,” he says,”It’s kind of embarrassing actually.”