Gov’t mulling extending airport fencing, re-routing Beacon Hill Road

GREAT BAY—The government is mulling the idea of extending the airport fencing in the vicinity of Beacon Hill road, rerouting vehicular traffic away from that road to prevent thrill seekers windsurfing jet blasts of departing airplanes. Ministers of VROMI Christopher Emmanuel intimated to this at the Council of Minister press briefing yesterday. “We are looking also to push the fence a little bit more, re-route the road possibly, so that they would be far away from the takeoff point,” Minister Emmanuel said at the Council of Ministers press briefing Wednesday.
A tourist from New Zealand was killed last week after being blown away by jet blasts from an airline, throwing her into a concrete slab on the Beacon Hill Road. That led to some suggestions that the government and the management of the Princess Juliana International Airport could be held liable. Minister Emmanuel even spoke about removing the concrete divider and the concrete slab at the side of the road if the fence is extended. “There would be no more concrete divider in the middle of the road nor will there be a concrete piece that stop the sand from coming on (the road),” he said.
Minister Emmanuel said at some point, the government has to take responsibility to address the problem. “At some point in time, it will be government’s responsibility to do something. At first it was one that got injured with half of her face getting damaged and now we have a death and that is not a good image for us,” the minister said.
In 2012, a tourist was blown away and also flung onto the concrete, but escaped serious injuries. Also in the year 2000, a Swiss woman also was flung into the concrete by jet blasts after losing her grip of the fence at the airport. The matter was brought to court, which ruled in favor of the tourist, claiming the airport did not adequately provide signage warning persons not to surf the jet blasts. The airport extended the runaway after the 2012 incident and installed more signage, warning persons about the dangerous activity.

Source: TODAY