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Woman hit in the face by airborne beach umbrella suing North Myrtle Beach

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A woman struck in the face by an airborne beach umbrella is suing North Myrtle Beach, claiming the city created dangerous conditions by sharpening the umbrella edges before putting them in the sand.

Dina Spataro, of North Carolina, was sitting on a public beach in North Myrtle Beach in July 2017 when a city-owned umbrella, with a sharp wooden bottom, went airborne, according to a lawsuit filed in Horry County last week.

The edge of the umbrella hit Spataro in the face and head, according to the lawsuit.

With the city sharpening the ends of its umbrellas, the suit states, it failed to warn beach patrons of the “hidden dangers” of being struck by an airborne umbrella.

“North Myrtle Beach knew or should have known that its umbrellas placed on the beach contained sharpened ends that were likely to cause serious bodily injury or death if they struck a beach guest,” the suit states. “Its employees failed to consider wind and weather conditions when placing umbrellas on the public beaches to prevent the umbrellas from becoming an air-borne hazard.”

The lawsuit also claims the city owed a duty to maintain public space free of hazards or hidden dangers. Additionally, the city failed to train or supervise its employees who placed the umbrella on the beach and in “unsafe and grossly negligent manner,” according to the lawsuit.

Spataro’s husband, Robert Spataro, is also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Dina Spataro was taken to Grand Strand Medical Center where her husband fainted at the sight of her injuries, also striking and injuring his head. As a result of the incident, both suffered injuries that are believed to be permanent, the suit states.

The suit requests a jury trial, saying Dina Spataro’s impalement resulted in suffering to her mind and spirit, serious and painful bodily injuries, permanent impairment, mental anguish, anxiety and medical expenses for her diagnosis, treatment and medication related to her injuries.

The filing asks for an unspecified amount of money.

City Spokesperson Pat Dowling said the city hasn’t been served with the lawsuit.

Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.
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