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Woman dies after being impaled by beach umbrella in South Carolina

A beachgoer was killed Wednesday after a loose beach umbrella impaled her in the chest, authorities in South Carolina said.

The umbrella was blown from its anchoring by the wind around 12:40 p.m. and hit Tammy Perreault while she was at a Garden City beach, Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard told CBS affiliate WBTW-TV.

Perreault, 63, died about an hour later at the hospital from chest trauma, Willard said.

Beach umbrellas have a spiked end to help push them into the sand and their wide canopy allows them to get caught up in a strong wind if they are not anchored properly, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The federal agency estimates about 3,000 people are injured by beach umbrellas every year.

In a statement, the CPSC said it was aware of fatal incident in South Carolina and is investigating.

"CPSC staff is also currently working with a standard development organization in hopes of developing a standard which could help establish the requirements for reliable and safe beach umbrellas and anchoring systems," the agency said.

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 55-year-old Virginia woman was killed by an umbrella in 2016.

According to a study published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2021, the majority of patients with beach and patio umbrella injuries treated at emergency departments were women over the age of 40.

"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.

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