A woman died after being speared by a beach umbrella in a horrific freak accident.
Tammy Perreault was visiting Garden City beach at around 12.10pm local time in South Carolina on Wednesday.
The 63-year-old died from severe chest trauma around an hour after she was struck when gusts of wind carried the umbrella.
Medics at the nearby Waccamaw ER were unable to save her.
Thomas Bell, a spokesman for Horry County Emergency Management, said: “This is a terrible loss, and we know our community is hurting.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim as they navigate through this difficult time.”
The local Horry County authority is continuing to investigate details of this latest fatal incident, reports local news channel WMBF.
Sherry White, one of Tammy’s best friends, said everyone tried to duck when the umbrella came their way.
She said: “A gust of wind that came through took an umbrella through the air and it just kept going and going.
“Everyone says ‘Duck’ and we did, but unfortunately she was in the line of fire.”
Perreault leaves behind her husband Mike.
White added: “She always put others first and her husband and her were inseparable. If you saw Mike, you saw Tammy. They had a great passion and love for each other.”
Scotty’s Beach Bar in Surfside Beach posted on social media about Perreault and the tragic accident.
They said: “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.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission puts estimates around 2,800 unconfirmed beach umbrella-related injuries between the years of 2010 and 2018.
In 2016, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia asked for a review of safety rules for beach umbrellas when a woman in the state was killed in similar circumstances to Tammy.
Lottie Michelle Belk died while celebrating her birthday and a marriage anniversary when an uplifted umbrella struck her in the torse.
The umbrellas need a sturdy spike to be driven into the sand, otherwise it can become lethal or cause serious injury when the wind takes hold of the canopy of the umbrella.