Woman’s leg impaled by beach umbrella in Alabama

Woman’s leg impaled by beach umbrella in Alabama

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A beach umbrella impaled a woman’s leg at an Alabama beach, sending her to the hospital, officials said. 

She was on the shore in the city of Orange Beach on Monday morning when a strong gust of wind dislodged the umbrella, the local fire department said. Emergency personnel responded to reports of a traumatic injury around 9 a.m. 

They stabilized the woman and cut the umbrella shaft from each side of the woman’s lower leg so she could be transported to the hospital, authorities said. She was airlifted to the hospital by helicopter in stable condition.

Last year, a 63-year-old woman, Tammy Perreault, died after a loose beach umbrella impaled her in the chest in South Carolina. Wind had blown the umbrella from its anchoring. A strong gust of wind also uprooted a beach umbrella in Virginia in 2016, killing a 55-year-old woman who was at the beach celebrating her birthday and anniversary. 

From 2018 to 2021, there were 1,700 beach umbrella-related injuries treated at hospital emergency departments, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2018, a loose umbrella impaled a 67-year-old beachgeor’s ankle in New Jersey, according to CBS New York. A Virginia man lost an eye to a beach umbrella in 2015, CBS affiliate WTVR reported. 

“Airborne beach umbrellas can be dangerous, even deadly,” the consumer product commission warns. “Make sure your beach umbrella stays anchored in the sand!”

The product group offers the following safety advice: Spike your beach umbrella pole into the sand and firmly rock it back and forth until it’s buried deep into the sand. Tilt the umbrella into the wind to keep it from blowing away and injuring someone. Anchor the base of the umbrella pole with some form of anchor or weight, and ensure the sand is packed well around the umbrella’s base.

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