Tammy Perreault, Surfside Beach, South Carolina woman impaled to death by beach umbrella in freak accident after getting caught in sudden gust of wind.
A beachgoer was killed on Wednesday after a loose beach umbrella, which had momentarily been blown away by a gust of wind, impaled her in the chest, South Carolina officials stated.
Tammy Perreault of Surfside Beach was at a Garden City beach when the umbrella broke loose from its anchor and struck her in the chest around 12:40 p.m, Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard told AP.
Off-duty medical professionals and Good Samaritans 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 WMBF. ‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim as they navigate through this difficult time.’
Incidence of freak accidents
Scotty’s Surfside Bar posted a tribute in honor of the beloved patron on their Facebook page.
‘Today with heavy hearts we mourn the loss of a dear friend and kind hearted local, Tammy Perreault,’ the post stated. ‘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.
U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia asked the safety agency to review safety rules for beach umbrellas and start a safety campaign after a Virginia woman was killed by an umbrella in 2016.
The majority of people injured by beach and patio umbrellas are women over 40, according to the Journal of Safety Research.
They wrote: ‘The most frequently reported injury was laceration followed by contusions or abrasions and internal organ injury, and the body part with the highest proportion of injuries was the head/neck followed by the upper extremity,’ the study said.