A dust devil in South Carolina was caught on camera tossing beach equipment on Wednesday.
Dust devils are usually harmless, and have rarely resulted in death in the past.
They can be as small as 10 feet wide or reach 300 feet wide and 1000 ft tall.
A dust devil that appeared right on top of beachgoers in South Carolina tossed beach towels and bags into the air and caused people to flee, video of the Wednesday incident shows.
According to news agency Storyful, the moment was caught at Garden City Beach in Horry County.
"I was worried about the people on the beach and very thankful no one was hurt," Marty Hipp, the woman who shot the video, told the news agency.
Dust devils are like less aggressive tornadoes and fairly common in the US, especially in southwest desert regions. The wind formations, which usually occur on sunny, windy days, result from hot air near the ground rising quickly and creating a vortex of low-pressure air, according to the National Weather Service.
They can be as small as 10 feet wide or reach 300 feet wide and 1,000 ft tall with wind speeds that can reach up to 60 miles per hour. Although most are harmless, they can result in property damage and slight injuries. In the rarest of cases, they can result in death: In 2003 investigators determined a dust devil caused a two-story auto body repair shop to collapse, killing the owner.
The South Carolina incident is not the only example of a dust devil wreaking havoc in recent weeks. During a youth baseball game on May 14, a dust devil formed while a seven-year-old catcher stood at first base in Jacksonville, Florida. The child had to be rescued by a 17-year-old umpire.
The child told News4JAX that when the dust devil enveloped him, he felt like he was being lifted up.
"I couldn't breathe that much," Bauer Zoya told News4JAX. "So I held my breath and I feel like I couldn't touch the ground."
A representative for Horry County did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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