In a tragic incident, a tourist was killed by the blast of a plane at an airport in the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten.
The 57-year-old New Zealander had been standing at a fence that separates Maho Beach and a runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, as per the reports from the policed. The area has become a popular, albeit dangerous, tourist attraction for those seeking to feel the powerful winds of an aircraft’s jet-engine revving for takeoff just yards away.
Watching planes land and take off at Princess Juliana International Airport is a well-known tourist attraction, as approaching aircraft tend to fly very low above their heads. But both airport and local authorities warn against getting too close to the planes, calling the practice “extremely dangerous.”
At the time of the incident, the unidentified woman had been hanging onto the fence along with several others, according to a statement from the Police Force of Sint Maarten. As a large plane was taking off, the woman was “blown away by the jet blast and was seriously injured,” police said.
It was the first such fatality, though there have been minor injuries in the past as a result of people trying to stand in the jet blast while clinging to the fence. Police do not have an official number of how many injuries have occurred at Maho Beach.
Thrill-seekers and tourists have been watching planes take off and land at the airport since it opened in 1943.