A New Zealand tourist died Wednesday after being blown back from a jet blast on famed Maho Beach in St. Maarten.
According to Police Force of Sint Maarten, the 57-year-old woman was among a group of tourists holding on to an airport fence watching a large aircraft take off from Princess Juliana International Airport. The tourist was blown back several feet from the force of the jet blast, resulting in serious head injuries.
Tourists are known to gather at the airport to watch air planes land and take off from the Caribbean island.
Police said emergency staff responded shortly after reports of the woman being injured and she was rushed to a medical centre. She died a short time later as a result of her injuries.
“The landing and taking off of all types and size of aircrafts at the international airport of Sint Maarten is well known worldwide as a major tourist attraction,” police noted in a statement. “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 aircrafts taking off. Doing this is however extremely dangerous.”
Authorities have placed signs around the airport and beach warning the public not to stand in the path of the jet blast of departing aircraft.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the woman was with her family when a Boeing 737 departed for Trinidad.
Director of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority Rolando Brison said in a statement he had met with the family of the deceased and “while they recognized that what they did was wrong through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that the risk they took turned out in the worst possible way.”
“At this time I only wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones while we continue to investigate what exactly transpired just hours ago,” Brison said in a statement.