ST MAARTEN – Jet engine blast kills woman

PHILIPSBURG – A New Zealand woman has died on the Caribbean territory of St Maarten after the blast from a powerful jet engine knocked her to the ground.

The incident happened at the famous Princess Juliana International Airport, which is just metres from the beach.

Beachgoers can walk up to the airport fence as planes take off.

Police said the 57-year-old woman had been holding on to the fence before the force of the jet engines threw her backwards, causing serious injury.

She was taken to hospital for treatment, but died later.

The particular stretch of beach on the Dutch territory is popular with tourists, partly because the planes fly extremely low over the sand before landing.

The beginning of the runway is just 50m (160ft) from the fence on Maho beach, and about the same distance to the waterline.

There are prominent warning signs in the area instructing beachgoers not to stand near the fence because of the dangerous air blasts.

Despite the danger, a number of videos circulating online show tourists clinging to the fence to prevent being swept away – and in some cases, almost being lifted off the ground.

The island’s tourism director, Rolando Brison, told the New Zealand Herald he had spoken to the family of the dead woman.

“I met with the family of the deceased this evening and while they recognized that what they did was wrong, through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that risk they took turned out in the worst possible way,” he said.

The newspaper also said the plane taking off was a Boeing 737, a commercial jet. A number of local media reports said the woman struck her head on concrete when she was blown back from the fence line.

In a statement, Sint Maarten police said they visit the area daily to discourage tourists from clinging to the runway fence.

“The landing and taking off of all types and size of aircrafts at the international airport of St Maarten is well known worldwide as major tourist attraction,” police said.

“Many tourists come to the island to experience the thrills of the landing of approaching aircrafts flying low above their heads and the holding on to the airport fence and standing in the jet blast of large aircraft taking off. Doing this is, however, extremely dangerous.”

Source: (BBC)

8 Responses to ST MAARTEN – Jet engine blast kills woman

  1. Michael Waltress
    Michael Waltress July 14, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Krisann J. Weekes I hope they don’t tell people keep off the fence or stay within a certain perimeter

    Reply
  2. David Brathwaite July 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I have been to Sint Maarten many times. The juxtaposition of the airport runway, the beach and the restaurants in the area is plain dangerous and would not be allowed anywhere else.

    I have witnessed people sitting on the beach being blown into the sea by jet exhausts.

    I have also witnessed hundreds of silly tourists on the beach and in the restaurants taking pictures, waving, etc when aircraft land. It’s like they are just beneath the wheels of the incoming plane. I have always believed this would turn into a disaster at some point.

    The aviation authorities both in Sint Maarten and internationally need to pay attention to this issue before there is an even bigger catastrophe.

    There should be no buildings or human activity literally just a few feet below the flight of an aircraft. I do not know how the airport is even approved under international aviation regulations.

    Reply
  3. David Brathwaite July 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I have been to Sint Maarten many times. The juxtaposition of the airport runway, the beach and the restaurants in the area is plain dangerous and would not be allowed anywhere else.

    I have witnessed people sitting on the beach being blown into the sea by jet exhausts.

    I have also witnessed hundreds of silly tourists on the beach and in the restaurants taking pictures, waving, etc when aircraft land. It’s like they are just beneath the wheels of the incoming plane. I have always believed this would turn into a disaster at some point.

    The aviation authorities both in Sint Maarten and internationally need to pay attention to this issue before there is an even bigger catastrophe.

    There should be no buildings or human activity literally just a few feet below the flight path of an aircraft. I do not know how the airport is even approved under international aviation regulations.

    Reply
  4. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner July 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Been in that area when planes take off and land it’s crazy not for the weak at heart,she must have ventured outside the normal viewing area.

    Reply
  5. Kayden Jada
    Kayden Jada July 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Those people always go and watch planes land or take of, big signs warning those boneheaded idiots

    Reply
  6. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard July 14, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I saw the video ,it say is happen in 2012, if this is the same thing

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *