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Published on Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tourist dies from jet blast at infamous St Maarten Airport

A New Zealand tourist has died after being hit by a jet blast from a departing aircraft at a Caribbean beach.

It happened by the airport fence of the Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten, near a popular spot to watch scary landings of low-flying jets just metres above Maho Beach.

The 57-year-old Kiwi tourist and several other people were knocked over by the force of the jet blast and it is thought she hit her head on a concrete pavement.

She died a short time later.

A police report said the woman was 'knocked off her feet by a plane's powerful wake.'

There are visible signs by the fence warning of standing too close, while people have been knocked over by the force of jet blasts before, this is thought to be the first ever fatality.

"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," St Maarten Tourism Authority director Rolando Brison said.

"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.

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  • Can't fix...ignorance...

    This "practice" by tourists has gone on for decades. I can remember when the concrete barrier between the beach and the road wasn't there. Back then tourists knocked off their feet by jet blasts ended up on the sand. I'm wondering what, if anything, the airport will "do" now since this lady's death. They can't change runways...they can't lengthen the runway, cannot close the road, cannot ban the beach goers since it's a public beach. If there was an answer I'm sure the airport and governmental agencies would have addressed it by now. We'll just have to wait and see??

    By LeAnne Rigsby, Thursday, July 13, 2017

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