AIRPORT–A tourist died on Wednesday afternoon after hitting her head on a concrete block behind the Princess Juliana International Airport SXM fence on the Maho Beach side. Tourists gather on a daily basis to experience jet blasts from aircraft taking off from the runway. The incident took place just after 5:00pm.
Police spokesman Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson said the Emergency Central Dispatch had received several phone calls reporting an incident that took place on Beacon Hill Road in the vicinity of the Airport runway.
“Several persons were holding onto the airport fence during the take-off of a large jet aircraft. During the take-off of this aircraft a 57-year-old woman from New Zealand was blown away by the jet blast and was seriously injured.
“Immediately several police patrols and paramedics were directed to the scene to investigate what had taken place. On the scene paramedics encountered the woman who was not showing any signs of life and she was transported to Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment. Unfortunately, the victim died shortly after as a result of the injuries she sustained,” stated Henson.
Director of Tourism Rolando Brison visited the grieving family at the hospital on Wednesday evening and offered the Government of St. Maarten’s condolences. He said, “I met with the family of the deceased this evening and while they recognise that what they did was wrong through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret the risk they took turned out in the worst possible way.
“At this time I only wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family.”
The landing and taking off of all types and sizes of aircraft at Airport SXM is well known world-wide as a major tourist attraction. Many tourists come to the island to experience the thrills of approaching aircraft flying low above their heads, holding on to the Airport’s fence and standing in the jet blast. However, doing this is extremely dangerous.
The Airport authorities and other local authorities have taken all necessary measures such as the placing of signs to warn the general public not to stand in the path of the jet blast of a departing aircraft because of the danger involved. Police patrols visit that area on a daily basis during the busy hours to warn persons to stay away from that area during take-offs of jet aircrafts, according to Henson.
The local authorities urge the public and visitors to the island to adhere to the warning signs that are placed at that location to avoid serious injuries that can ultimately lead to loss of life.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67606-update-woman-dies-after-jet-blast-at-airport