Woman dies after being impaled by an umbrella in Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) — A Garden City woman was killed Wednesday afternoon after being accidentally impaled by an umbrella, according to Horry County Deputy Medical Examiner Tamara Willard.

According to Willard, Tammy Perreault was on a Garden City beach around 12:40 p.m. when the umbrella was carried by the wind and hit her. Perreault died in an emergency room at approximately 1:31 p.m. from chest trauma.

She was 63 years old. Willard said it does not appear to be Perreault’s umbrella.

Horry County is “aware of the tragic death” and “is continuing to investigate the matter,” according to a statement Thursday afternoon.

“This is a terrible loss and we know our community is suffering,” the statement said.

“We are aware that a number of Good Samaritans and off-duty medical workers provided first aid to the victim on the beach,” the statement said. “Your action in offering comfort and first aid is honorable and appreciated. Thank you also to first responders from Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire Rescue, Horry County Police Department Beach Patrol and Beach Services, Ltd. who provided emergency medical services and transportation to an area hospital.”

The statement continued, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim as they navigate this difficult time.”

There were winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts of up to 21 miles per hour on Wednesday, according to Frank Johnson, News13’s chief meteorologist. The winds came from the west. The temperature was in the low 90’s and the surf was normal.

Beach rules, operated by Horry County, prohibit screening devices that obstruct a lifeguard’s view of an area. Shading devices must also not be within 10 feet of an established screen line.

Shading devices must also be secured.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends burying umbrella poles at least two feet into the sand. Umbrellas should be tilted into the wind to prevent it from blowing away. The base should also be anchored and sand should be packed around the base.

About 5,512 beach umbrella injuries were recorded in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System between 2000 and 2019, according to a study published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2021. Wind was a cause of 50.6% of beach umbrella injuries. About 16.6% of the incidents involved injuries to internal organs.

Most were women over 40.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/south/woman-dies-after-being-impaled-by-beach-umbrella-in-horry-county/ Woman dies after being impaled by an umbrella in Horry County

Dais Johnston

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