Like something you’d expect to see out of an old horror film like The Omen or Final Destination, a freak accident happened on Wednesday in Garden City, South Carolina after a woman was impaled and died from an umbrella that was being carried by the wind.
The umbrella was carried up by the strong gust of wind from its place in the sand at around 12:40 p.m., hitting Tammy Perreault, 63, in the chest, and piercing her through her body, according to Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard. She was taken to the Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, where she was tragically unable to be revived and ultimately fell to her critical wound.
Scotty’s Beach Bar in Surfside Beach posted on social media about Perreault and the misfortune writing: “Today with heavy hearts we mourn the loss of a dear friend and kind-hearted local, Tammy Perreault. 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,” as per the post.
While you may be shocked that something like this could happen, things like this happen much more often than you think – believe me, I was stunned too. Around 3,000 people every year are injured while enjoying the beach with umbrellas, as per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
To put that into perspective, there are only around 73 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. per year, and only 39 provoked shark attacks on humans according to ISAF. Maybe Steven King should have made a movie about umbrellas instead of sharks.
An ocean-side umbrella’s wide overhang permits it to become wisped with strong gusts of wind for an on the off chance that it isn’t secured as expected, while the spiked end represents a risk. In 2016, another person by the name of Lottie Michelle Belk of Chester, Virginia, was killed by a flying ocean side umbrella on Virginia Beach in an identical way.
In that occurrence, an ocean-side umbrella secured in the sand was carried off by an intense gust of wind, blowing it into Belk’s body. Police said the umbrella impaled Belk, 55, in the chest, causing her death.
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Terrible. Talk about some Final Destination type of shit https://t.co/8AvBSbuNrd
— Hurricane Hugo (@JHugo13) August 12, 2022
Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to survey ocean-side umbrellas and begin a safety check and campaign back in 2016, after Belk’s passing.
In 2019, the representatives kept in touch with the office once more, revealed the Virginian-Pilot, proposing they consider another campaign, this time centered around the Fourth of July in efforts for the effective “Safe Sleep Campaign,” which was intended to instruct and educate individuals how to be more mindful and safe.
The commission as of late provided details regarding its website that Andrew Newens, directorate for Engineering Sciences, was planning to take part in a video chat with a Beach Umbrellas Task Group on July 27, 2022.
“This conference call was requested by the American Society for Testing and Materials to discuss the creation of a new standard test method for the strength and durability of consumer beach umbrellas,” according to the site.
This is all crazy to me, I wasn’t even aware we had a Beach Umbrellas Task Group, sounds funny, but not so much when thousands of people are dying of umbrellas every year. Perhaps we should set up some common umbrella laws as well to keep everyone safe.