WASHINGTON — A Pennsylvania woman is recovering after a terrifying day at an Ocean City, Maryland, beach. Emergency responders said an umbrella broke free, hurtled down the sand, and impaled her in the chest.
Beachgoers know it’s not uncommon to see a gust of wind dislodge an umbrella and send it flying down the shoreline, but Sunday’s incident resulted in a woman’s injuries.
“It went tossing down the beach and struck a woman,” said Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters.
The 46-year-old was hit by someone else’s rental umbrella near 54th Street just after 3 p.m.
“Fortunately, it was not life-threatening. But it was significant enough that our EMS personnel didn’t feel comfortable removing it. So what they did was actually cut the top part of the umbrella off so she could be transported,” Waters said.
A lifeguard monitoring the beach on an ATV spotted the accident moments after it happened and was first to respond, she said.
A Maryland State Police helicopter transported the woman to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for treatment. The woman is in stable condition and expected to recover.
Waters said beachgoers need to be certain umbrellas are anchored 18-24 inches below the sand throughout the day, and they should lower the rental umbrella when they are finished with it.
“This is just a perfect example of how if you’re not cautious enough, an umbrella can turn tragic pretty instantly,” she said.
Last week, a woman was impaled by a beach umbrella on the New Jersey shore. Authorities said part of the umbrella pierced the woman’s ankle after being driven along by the force of the wind.