Woman Impaled By Beach Umbrella Sparks Safety Warnings

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Woman Impaled By Beach Umbrella Sparks Safety Warnings

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Summer is many people's favorite season, but it also comes with a slew of problems that we're never really prepared for.

Expert warnings about the dangers of excessive sun exposure, leaving children and pets in hot cars, bug bites, and toxic weeds, are just the tip of the iceberg.

This summer, a number of incidents have occurred in different parts of the country that have many people wondering "what's really safe anymore?"


Within the last two months alone, injuries reported included a man with second-degree burns caused by stepping barefoot on a deck, a three-year-old girl also with burns to her foot caused by embers of a beach bonfire that was covered with sand, as well as beach-goers getting attacked by sea lice.

Just when we thought we've seen it all, a woman recently got injured at the beach and it has experts warning us about one more way a person could get hurt during the warmer months.

A freak accident

Margaret Reynolds, a 67-year-old tourist from London, England, was sunbathing on a beach in New Jersey when she became the victim of a freak accident.

An aluminum beach umbrella was uprooted "due to the force of the wind," and a part of it went right through her right ankle, according to Detective Steve Korman.


Emergency crews were immediately called to the scene, and had to get a little creative in order to free Reynolds' leg.

Firefighters used  a bolt cutter to remove the umbrella before transporting the poor woman to the nearby Jersey Shore University Medical center.

Donna Sellmann, a spokeswoman for the hospital later confirmed that Reynolds is in good condition. She released a statement through Sellman:

"It was a beautiful day and a gust of wind blew the umbrella," Reynolds said. "It was just an accident."


Ricky Zepeda, a witness at the scene, said the wind "came out of nowhere," adding, "It was the craziest thing, just a random gust of wind. It got really windy and I could see an umbrella pass by. I heard someone scream 'my leg, my leg' and I looked over and I could see what happened."

Zepeda said the rod came out about five inches on the other side. He thinks the situation could've been worse, but the first responders were "super prepared."

"In not even a minute someone was already there putting blood clotters on her."

How you can protect yourself

The incident has since sparked safety warnings from experts, including Santa Monica-based lifeguard captain Julio Rodriguez.

Shropshire Star

While speaking with Good Morning America, he shared a few tips that will ensure people at the beach don't end up in a hospital.

He suggests pushing the umbrella at least 16 inches into the sand so it remains sturdy when it gets windy.

"You can either use a shovel to dig the hole deep enough to set the stick and pack it in," he said, "or once you drive the stick into the sand, rock it back and forth. That typically gets it in deeper into the sand."

While Reynolds' story might seem like a one-off, there have been a number of similar incidents that prove it happens more than a lot more than we think.

Not an isolated incident

In 2010, a woman named Lynn Stevens was also impaled by a flying umbrella while on a beach in Maryland.

"The wind picked it straight up in the air and it shot right back down and it went right into my thigh," Stevens told GMA. "Luckily someone on the beach was watching and tried to catch the umbrella for me."

In 2015, a windblown beach umbrella went through the left eye of a man named Ed Quigley. He has since created the website Beach Umbrella Safety to warn others and share safety tips.

Ed QuigleyWTVR

The most serious case of beach umbrella injuries took place in 2016, and unfortunately, it resulted in death.

In 2016, The Washington Post reported that a woman in Virginia died after she was hit by a beach umbrella. According to the news source, Lottie Michelle Belk was at the beach celebrating her birthday when the umbrella impaled her causing blunt force chest trauma.

For the safety of your family and friends, spread the word about the dangers of beach umbrellas.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.