Responders save woman impaled by beach umbrella

A woman was vacationing with friends when she was gored in the chest by a beach umbrella that darted at her during a sudden wind gust


By Bob Kalinowksi
The Citizens' Voice 

OCEAN CITY, Md. — A Luzerne County woman vacationing with friends in Ocean City, Maryland, was gored in the chest Sunday by a beach umbrella that darted at her during a sudden wind gust, officials in the beach town confirmed Monday.

Officials did not release the woman’s name, only saying she is 46-years old and from the Kingston area.

“I talked to her this morning. She is doing well,” said Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin.

Arbin noted the story, which has made headlines around the world, had another Northeastern Pennsylvania twist: The first lifeguard who arrived to tend to the woman’s injuries is also from Luzerne County, working in Ocean City for the summer.

The woman was seated in a chair with several friends near 54th Street when the incident happened. She never lost consciousness.

After the sharp end of the umbrella pierced the woman’s chest, lifeguards and other beachgoers held the umbrella steady until firefighters cut off the wooden pole, Arbin said.

They left a piece of the pole in her chest to avoid causing more damage, he said.

The woman was flown on a Maryland State Police helicopter to a nearby hospital so that doctors could perform X-rays to determine the best way to remove it.

The injury was not life-threatening and the woman has even said she feels “blessed” the incident didn’t turn out worse, Arbin said.

Officials said the umbrella was an unattended rental.

The incident comes a week another woman was impaled in the ankle by a wind-driven beach umbrella on the New Jersey shore.

Arbin said the lifeguard who got to the woman’s side was already sprinting toward her direction after seeing the umbrella being blow by a wind gust.

“Blowing umbrellas are just as serious to us as a drowning,” Arbin said. “Incidents like this are rare in Ocean City but they are a frightening reminder of how dangerous an unsecured umbrella can be.”

To prevent incidents like this, he said citizens are encouraged to ensure that the bottom of the umbrella pole is 18 to 24 inches below the surface of the sand and tilt the umbrella into the wind.

“If it is a windy day, leave the umbrella at home,” Arbin said.

Copyright 2018 The Citizens' Voice 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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