A woman has died on the Caribbean territory of Sint Maarten after being knocked to the ground by the blast from a powerful jet engine.
The incident occurred at the Princess Juliana International Airport – which is famous for landing planes only metres from the beach.
The 57-year-old woman, a tourist from New Zealand, was reportedly holding onto the airport fence before the sheer force of the jet engine threw her backwards, resulting in serious injury.
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She was rushed to hospital for treatment, but died a short time later.
The stretch of beach is extremely popular with tourists, who flock to see the planes flying extremely low over the sand before landing.
The beach is known for its proximity to aircraft. This video from Storyful’s archive was shot January 20, 2014, and shows a jet blast at the beach sweeping into onlookers.
The beginning of the runway is only 50m from the fence on the beach – and several warning signs instruct beachgoers to steer clear of the fence due to the danger posed by the air blasts.
Local media reports claim that the plane taking off was a Boeing 737, and the woman struck her head on concrete when she was blown back.
In a statement, Sint Maarten Police claimed that they visit the area on a daily basis to prevent tourists from clinging to the runway fence.
‘The landing and taking off of all types and size of aircrafts at the international airport of Sint Maarten is well known worldwide as major tourist attraction’, the statement claimed.
‘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 aircraft taking off. Doing this is, however, extremely dangerous.’