According to local officials, a South Carolina woman was killed after being impaled in the chest by a beach umbrella that had blown away in a strong gust of wind.
Tammy Perreault was at a Garden City beach on Wednesday when the umbrella broke free from its connector and hit her, according to Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.
Off-duty medical personnel and concerned citizens rushed to Perreault’s aid while waiting for an ambulance, according to officials.
However, the 63-year-old woman passed away about an hour later from chest trauma at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, according to WMBF.
“This is a terrible loss, and we know our community is hurting,” Thomas Bell, a spokesperson for Horry County Emergency Management, told the outlet. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim as they navigate through this difficult time.”
Injuries and deaths caused by beach umbrellas hurtling down beaches after becoming tangled in the wind are not unusual.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the spiked end of the umbrellas can also become lethal if a strong wind gust catches the device’s canopy and sends it traveling.
Every year, the federal agency estimates that about 3,000 individuals are injured by beach umbrellas.