A woman was impaled by a wind-blown beach umbrella on a South Carolina beach in a freak accident that has the community who loved her in shock.
Tammy Perreault, 63, of Horry County, South Carolina, which includes the popular Myrtle Beach community, was struck and reportedly impaled by the umbrella just after noon on Wednesday, the Horry County Coroner revealed, according to NBC 12.
She was attended to on a Garden City beach by off-duty medical personnel and Good Samaritans while waiting on emergency services to arrive.
Perreault was taken to a local hospital with trauma to her chest. She died at the hospital a short time later, WMBF reported.
A local bar called Scotty's Beach Bar, expressed its grief over the loss of a "kind-hearted local," writing in a post on Facebook, "we mourn the loss of a dear friend ... 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."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns beach umbrellas that go airborne can be deadly. It's important to be extra sure that your umbrella is anchored into the sand properly so that wind has less of a chance of blowing it away.
The agency said to be sure you spike your umbrella pole into the sand and then tilt it into the wind to keep it from blowing away. Try to anchor the umbrella with some sort of weight or find one with a corkscrew at the bottom of the pole to screw it further into the sand. Also, be sure the sand is packed well around the base of the pole.
Ed Quigley of BeachUmbrellaSafety.org set up the site to warn people of the dangers of improperly anchored beach umbrellas after an accident with an umbrella badly injured his left eye.
Quigley said that each year thousands are injured by these umbrellas.