A 55-year-old US woman was killed after being struck by a wind-tossed beach umbrella at Virginia Beach, officials said.

Police responded to a call for a woman who was said to be in cardiac arrest near 33rd Street on the beach. When police arrived they found the woman was suffering from what was at the time described as a "life-threatening" injury. She later died in an area hospital, police said.

An initial investigation found that a "strong gust of wind blew" an umbrella across the beach and "struck her in the torso" according to Officer Tonya Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Police department. Police said there is no evidence of foul play.

Police believe she was hit with the tip of the umbrella. The woman was later identified as Lottie Michelle Belk of Chester, Virginia.

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"It was a horrific accident," said Pierce. She said it was considered a "death due to nature." Pierce said she had "never heard" of anything similar to this in her 25 years with the department.