Jet blast accident gets international coverage

~ Tourists still hold on to fence while planes take off ~

BEACON HILL–Despite the untimely death of a New Zealand woman on Wednesday afternoon, visitors to the island continued their thrill-seeking practices on Thursday afternoon. Persons were holding onto the airport fence during the take-off of an Air France Airbus.

During the take-off of an American Airlines airplane on Wednesday afternoon, the 57-year-old woman was blown away by the jet blast and was knocked unconscious by hitting her head on a concrete block near the road. The woman died later at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) while doctors were trying to revive her.

Media outlets in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United States and London are just some of the news groups that reported on the tourist’s death.

In a statement to the media on Thursday, the Princess Juliana International Airport SXM Supervisory Board of Directors, management and staff said they were saddened to have learned of the passing of the tourist Wednesday evening as a result of injuries sustained during the unfortunate accident.

“Further investigation by the local authorities will have to show what exactly took place. For now we cannot express enough our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased,” stated the press release. No more information was provided by the Airport Marketing Department.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher issued a statement via her press secretary on Thursday, saying, “On behalf of the Ministry, my Cabinet and the Government of St. Maarten, I express heartfelt condolences to the family of our visitor from New Zealand who lost her life on Wednesday.

“We designated Head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rolando Brison as the point person for information and he has already met with the family directly to express our condolences as well and remain available for their needs.

“While the family recognised that what they did was a risk in lieu of the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that risk they took turned out in the worst possible way. Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the family while we continue to investigate what transpired.”

Close family of the woman will arrive today, Friday, and the family will decide on cremation or to transfer the body to New Zealand.

A woman was seriously injured in 2012 when she also was thrown against the concrete block near the road.

Source: The Daily Herald