SC Woman Killed by Umbrella on Beach Outing

Tammy Perreault, 63, died Wednesday in South Carolina
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 7:44 AM CDT
SC Woman Fatally Impaled by Beach Umbrella
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/AlbertoLov)

A midweek beach outing turned tragic for a South Carolina woman after an umbrella blew over and fatally impaled her. WMBF reports that 63-year-old Tammy Perreault of Horry County was struck in the chest Wednesday around 12:40pm by the umbrella. It had toppled with the wind on the shore of Garden City. "It just kept going and going," friend Sherry White tells the news station. "Everyone [said], 'Duck,' and we did, but unfortunately she was in the line of fire." Off-duty medical professionals and other beachgoers assisted Perreault, who was suffering from chest trauma, until first responders arrived to take her to a nearby hospital, per a spokesman for Horry County Emergency Management.

She died there about an hour after the accident. Per a study last year in the Journal of Safety Research, most patients treated at the ER due to injuries from beach and patio umbrellas were women over the age of 40 like Perreault, reports CBS News. "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 notes.

Such incidents have been concerning enough that Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia asked the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to run a safety campaign around them, spurred by the death in 2016 of a 55-year-old Virginia woman. WTKR cites a CPSC warning that "airborne beach umbrellas can be dangerous, even deadly." The agency notes that between 2010 and 2018 there were about 2,800 unconfirmed injuries due to beach umbrellas. The CPSC offers tips on safely erecting one, including anchoring the base of the spiked pole with something hefty to keep it down, packing sand down around the base, and tilting the umbrella into the wind. (More impaled stories.)

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