A Virginia woman is dead after being impaled by a beach umbrella while celebrating her birthday.
Lottie Michelle Belk was at the beach for her 55th birthday on Wednesday. All was well until strong gusts of wind picked up a beach umbrella and hurled it toward Belk, who was stabbed in the torso.
“It kind of looked like something out of the Wizard of Oz,” witness Hugh Martin told local reporters. “I saw the umbrella go up in the air, and it hit the woman, literally knocking her to the side. Immediately, the lifeguards, people started rushing around. It was probably one of the scariest things I have ever seen.”
According to The Huffington Post, wind speeds at the beach had reached between 20 and 25 miles per hour.
Following the bizarre accident, Belk was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died as a result of her injuries.
Apparently, the umbrella was anchored but not secured well enough to withstand the strong wind. It is unclear whether the umbrella belonged to Belk or someone else on the beach.
Captain of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, Tom Gill, said that this was the first time he had heard of someone being killed by an umbrella.
He said it’s common for people to get injured by them when they get loose, but he classifies what happened to Belk as a textbook freak accident.