A Virginia woman was killed in what is being looked at as a freak act of nature when she was stabbed by a beach umbrella that was propelled by the wind, authorities said.
Lottie Michelle Belk, 55, was at the beach near 33rd Street in Virginia Beach when a strong gust of wind blew the anchored umbrella across the sand and struck her in the chest at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Officers responding to a report of a woman in cardiac arrest arrived to find Belk being tended to by EMS and lifeguards, a VBPD spokeswoman told InsideEdition.com.
She was rushed to a local hospital, but succumbed to her injury, officials said.
“It kind of looked like something from the Wizard of Oz. Literally. Saw the umbrella go up in the air, and literally hit the woman, knocking her to the side,” witness Hugh Martin, who works on the boardwalk, told WTKR.
He added: “It was probably [one of] the most scariest things I’ve ever seen.”
The VBPD Homicide Unit is investigating the incident, but there is no evidence of foul play and the incident is being looked at as an act of nature, the police spokeswoman said.
All deaths in the city of Virginia Beach that do not occur in a medical facility are investigated, she said.
Loved ones were stunned by Belk’s death, taking to social media to express their grief over the loss.
“I’m so lost right now for words but I know this for sure,” one person wrote on Facebook,” Lottie is with the Lord and all of his Angels!”
A post that appeared on Belk’s daughter’s Facebook page, read: “To you and your sister… know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family during this sad time in your life.
"Your mom was truly an amazing person and friend that will be missed by all that knew her.”