Woman who died at Virginia Beach Oceanfront was impaled by beach umbrella


COURTHOUSE — A woman visiting Virginia Beach was killed at the Oceanfront on Wednesday, June 8, after she was struck by a beach umbrella blown by a gust of wind.

Police identified her as Lottie M. Belk, 55, of Chester. WTVR-TV in Richmond reported that Belk was celebrating her birthday and anniversary.

According to police, Belk was on the beach near 33rd Street shortly after 5 p.m. when the anchored umbrella was carried by the wind over the sand. 

Belk was struck, police said, and she was impaled.

Rescue officials found her in cardiac arrest, police said, and then took Belk to a local hospital, but she died from her injuries. 

“All indication is this was an act of nature,” said Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce, a spokesperson for the department.

The incident made international news this week, but dangers of beach umbrellas  — generally, when improperly secured or heavy winds — are sometimes reported.

In 2003, a woman in Ocean City, N.J., was impaled in the leg by a beach umbrella, the Gazette of Ocean City reported.

A woman won a lawsuit against the New York state after she was struck in the head by a park lifeguard’s umbrella carried by the wind “like a torpedo” in 1999, The New York Times reported.

And at least one lawsuit in Naples, Fla., also resulted from injuries from a table umbrella, according to media reports there.

© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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