Beach-goer observed pitching ball at plane

MAHO–Plane-spotter Richard Hazel was out on Maho Beach taking photos as usual when he noticed someone in the water throwing what appeared to be a ball towards an oncoming plane.

According to Hazel, he was at Maho Beach on July 19 when he saw a beach-goer in the water throwing a ball at an Amerijet aircraft that was moments from touching down at Princess Juliana International Airport SXM. The photographer decided to take pictures when he saw the unusual situation.

“I proceeded to review my images on my camera to see what had happened and due to the bright sun I barely could see what was on my screen. While further reviewing my images on my PC on July 21, I saw the images and realised what took place,” said Hazel. “We do not need any negative publicity due to tourists visiting the island and causing catastrophic events by throwing things at an aircraft.

“My suggestion might not be as expensive as rerouting the road or condemning the beach, but some of the following could be applied here on the island: Additional signs with fines and laws to back them; signs from hanging on the fence and throwing things at the aircraft.

“I did some spotting at Miami International Airport and while there I haven’t seen a stationed security guard, but now and then I saw a security or an airport authorised vehicle pass by.

“If the bars/businesses reject to be relocated from where they are currently situated, they should be responsible for keeping the beach clean and the hiring of security personnel for a certain time or as long as the airport is open, to enforce people not to do these crazy acts that can harm their lives and others, including damaging our bread and butter (tourism).

“Also in Miami they made use of the spotters who help airport security in situations like these. A spotter’s lookout would also be great as well on the side somewhere next to the runway as well. I did not take any photos, but at Fort Lauderdale there’s a parking area to spot and park as well. Brussels also will be having a lookout as well where people can visit and spot; the ‘thrill’ will be lost or limited.”

The Daily Herald contacted the Airport’s Marketing Department for comment and e-mailed Amerijet officials for comment, but no feedback was provided up to press time.

“I’ve heard of certain situations of people throwing objects at aircraft. This Amerijet is our second or third largest aircraft we have visiting the island. Air Canada as well as American Airlines uses the same type of aircraft during the high season,” noted Hazel. “Please have these visitors care and respect our island.”

Source: The Daily Herald