A South Carolina woman was killed after she was impaled in the chest by a beach umbrella that had blown away in a gust of wind, local officials said.
Tammy Perreault was at a Garden City beach when the umbrella broke loose from its anchor and struck her around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard told reporters.
Off-duty medical professionals and good Samaritans sprung into action and rendered aid to Perreault while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, officials said.
But the 63-year-old woman died about an hour later at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital from chest trauma, 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.”
Scotty’s Surfside Bar posted a touching tribute to Perreault on their Facebook page.
“Today with heavy hearts we mourn the loss of a dear friend and kind hearted local, Tammy Perreault,” ,” the post said. “Some things we will never begin to understand but what we do know is no one has a bad thing to say about this woman. To be as sweet as her day in and day out should be a goal for all.”
Injuries and deaths from beach umbrellas careening down beaches after they’ve been caught in the wind are not uncommon.
The spiked end of the umbrellas can become lethal once a gust of wind catches the device’s canopy and sends it flying, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
The federal agency estimates about 3,000 people are injured by beach umbrellas every year.
In 2016, 55-year-old Lottie Michelle Belk was killed by a windblown beach umbrella in Virginia Beach, prompting U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner requested the safety agency to review safety rules for beach umbrellas.
With Post Wires