New Zealand tourist killed by jet plane blast in Caribbean

By Travel at 60

A trip to the beach has ended in tragedy

Image:  Roman Stetsyk/Shutterstock

Going on holiday can mean different things for different people. For some, it’s the opportunity to wind down and relax, while for others it’s the perfect excuse to through all inhibitions out the window and take part in some risky behaviour they wouldn’t normally do back home.

That has unfortunately been the case for one New Zealand woman who has been killed while holidaying on Maho Beach in the Caribbean.

The beach in St. Maarten is popular, not just because of the lure of a bit of sun and sand, but this is where airplanes famously come freakishly close to the beach when landing at the neighbouring airport.

Standing too close to the fence between the beach and the Princess Juliana International Airport runway, the 57-year-old New Zealand woman was thrown off her feet during the take-off and and died a short time later.

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A sign is attached to the gate to warn people to keep their distances from the area.

“Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death,” it reads.

Local tourism director, Rolando Brison, has spoken with the family of the woman about the tragedy.

“I met with the family of the deceased this evening and while they recognised that what they did was wrong, through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that risk they took turned out in the worst possible way,” he said, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“At this time I only wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones while we continue to investigate what transpired just hours ago.”

Maho Beach is a popular destination on the bucket lists of many travellers, plane spotters and aviation enthusiasts who like to get as close as possible to these huge aircrafts.

More than 1.9 million cruise passengers visited St. Maarten in 2015 with many tourists visiting the beach to get a glimpse of the aircrafts flying at altitudes of just 100 feet above ground level.

"Hordes of camera-laden tourists and zealous plane spotters gather to witness the bizarre moment an airplane descends directly above their heads,” says travel blogger from Why Waste Annual Leave on her recent trip.  

“You tilt your head up, where thus far you have seen nothing but a flawless canvas of blue sky. Now you see a wing of an Airbus.

“Turns out it is fascinating, even for those of us who aren’t habitual plane spotters," she says.

Travel at 60
Would you risk a visit to Maho Beach?