Today I came across this tragic story that occurred at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. I vacationed (and plane watching) on Maho Beach just 2 short weeks ago!
According to Yahoo News, a tourist has died at one of the world’s most dangerous airports.
The woman – a 57-year-old New Zealander – was reportedly watching a plane take off from the notorious Princess Juliana Airport in St Maarten when she was knocked over by the thrust from one of its engines.
She is understood to have died in hospital where she was being treated for head injuries.
Sandwiched between a busy beach on one side and a mountain on the other, the Caribbean airport is renowned as one of the world’s most dangerous spots to go plane watching. Big jets swoop in low over the beach to touch down on the runway, a spectacle that attracts many thrill-seeking tourists.
Though signs warn of the dangers posed by air blasts, many tourists still cling onto the fence separating the beach from Princess Juliana Airport to feel the force of the thrust.
Here is a look at how low planes fly on Maho Beach. This shows a puddle jumper but you could imagine the winds a huge Boing 747 would bring landing this close to land. As you can see, by the time the plane reaches the fence where the unfortunate vacationer was standing, it would have been dangerously low.
I took these videos from the same location in St. Maarten on July 3rd.
Here is a larger American Airlines plane landing at Princess Juliana Airport…I love the rewind video feature on Instagram!
This story is very tragic! Even for us on the beach, there were times when the planes blew everyone and their belongings away. I cannot fathom how strong the winds are that close the runway. My thoughts are with the victim’s family!
Have you visited Maho Beach in St. Maarten to plane watch? Tell me about your experience!