The INSIDER Summary:
- A 57-year-old female tourist from New Zealand was killed yesterday by a jet blast from a plane taking off from Princess Juliana Airport on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.
- The airport is one of the most dangerous in the world because its runway is bordered by a beach and a mountain.
- Despite signs all over the beach that warn of the dangers of jet blasts, tourists and aviation enthusiasts still stake out positions very close to incoming and outgoing planes.
A 57-year-old female tourist from New Zealand was killed yesterday by a jet blast from a plane taking off from Princess Juliana Airport on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.
The airport is known as one of the most dangerous in the world, due to the precarious location of its runway, which is bordered by Maho beach on one end and a mountain on the other.
The woman was holding on to a fence that separates the runway from a road and the beach. She was hit by the jet blast from a Boeing 737, a force that knocked her to the ground, causing her to hit her head. The plane was operated by Caribbean Airlines and was heading for Trinidad.
A video posted to Facebook by Billy Simmonds shows paramedics trying to revive the tourist after she was thrown to the ground. She was then brought to Sint Maarten Medical Center, where she died shortly after.
While this is the first death caused by a plane to occur at Maho Beach, other tourists have sustained injuries there after being tossed to the ground or into the water by planes landing or taking off. Despite signs all over the area that warn tourists of the threat of injuries and/or death from jet blasts, the beach has become a popular spot for visitors hoping to snap a selfie or get a photo of a plane skimming the sand as they sunbathe.
The beach is also known among aviation enthusiasts as a spot where they can get up close and personal with planes.
According to a NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System survey by Rowena Morrison, the force from a plane’s jet blast can “up-root trees, flatten building structures, shatter windows, lift and propel heavy objects,” further proof that tourists should take the warning signs in the area seriously.
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