Woman killed by jet blast at Sint Maarten airport

Warning sign at Maho Beach near the Princess Juliana Airport on Sint Maarten
Warning sign at Maho Beach near the Princess Juliana Airport on Sint Maarten. Photo: Terrazzo / Wikimedia Commons

A tourist was killed on Maho Beach on Sint Maarten, the beach located next to the runway of the Princess Juliana airport in Philipsburg. She stood by the fence that separate the beach and runway and was blown away by a departing plane, NOS reports.

The woman hit her head against a concrete block. She was rushed to the hospital, but died of her injuries.

According to 721 News, the victim is a 57-year-old woman from New Zealand. The accident happened around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. 

The Princess Juliana Airport is a popular attraction for airplane enthusiasts due to its location. Landing planes pass close over the heads of Maho Beach visitors, almost close enough to touch. Departing planes are also an attraction. Due to the airport's short runway, large airplanes have to give their jet engines full gas in order to get off the ground. These jet blasts are strong enough to blow beach visitors over.

As far as is known, this tourist is the first person to be killed by a jet blast on Maho Beach, but a number of other people were injured over the years. In 2000 a Swizz tourist was blown over and sustained serious injuries, according to NOS. She sued the airport and the Supreme Court eventually ruled that the airport had to place clearer and more noticeable warning signs. According to the broadcaster, so far nothing has changed.

Insel Air plane passing low over Maho Beach as it approaches Princess Juliana airport on Sint Maarten, January 2013
Insel Air plane passing low over Maho Beach as it approaches Princess Juliana airport on Sint Maarten, January 2013. Photo: Timo Breidenstein / Wikimedia Commons

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