Tourists at Maho Beach on Sint Maarten watch as a plane in the air.
A 57-year-old woman on vacation in the Caribbean island of Saint Martin was killed after a blast from a nearby jet knocked her to the ground.
The incident took place on Wednesday at Maho Beach — a popular tourist destination in Sint Maarten (the Dutch side of st. Martin) — who is famous because of its proximity to the Princess Juliana International Airport. Officials say the woman was holding onto a fence that separates the beach from the airport when wind generated by the jet engines blasted her back.
She died a short time later in a hospital, reports the BBC.
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Maho Beach is a popular place for tourists and thrill-seekers, largely due to the low-flying aircraft that fly overhead on the way to Princess Juliana International Airport.
“This is a must-do for all aviation enthusiasts, travel enthusiasts, and simply anyone who wants a few minutes of their day to see aviation” travel blogger Jamie Larounis told Fox News earlier this year. “They stop the traffic, and get the people to blow up in the water, to sand blowing in their faces as these huge jets take off.”
Brave tourists have also taken to holding on to the fence between the runway of the road next to the beach, despite a warning, advising against.
Rolando Brison, the director of tourism for the island, has since extended his condolences to the family of the victim.
“I’ve been with the family of the deceased this evening and while she understood that what she did was wrong, by the obvious signs of danger, they regret the risk they took turned out in the worst possible way,” Brison told The New Zealand Herald.
“At this point, I only want to pass on my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones, while we continue to investigate what happened a few hours ago.”
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This is not the first time that a tourist has been injured after ignoring warnings of “physical injury and/or death” at Maho Beach. In 2012, a woman was injured when the wind from a plane taxiing sent her headlong into a concrete divider.
Brison told the Herald that he will be reviewing security footage and the investigation of Wednesday’s incident.