A tourist has died at the popular public beach near St Maarten airport, known as the “the most dangerous airport in the world.” The tourist died while participating in a dangerous, but very popular stunt in which thrill-seeking tourists and beachgoers stand close to a jetliner revving its engine in preparation for takeoff and try to withstand the blast of the engine.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the tourist, a 57-year-old New Zealander, who was presumably participating in the popular “jet blast challenge,” (see videos below) was standing behind the fence at Princess Juliana Airport on the island of St Maarten in the Caribbean, when the blast from the jet engine of a passenger plane, reportedly a Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737, blew her off her feet and flung her against a nearby low concrete wall.
The tourist was reportedly standing and holding on to the fence at the end of the runway, watching as the plane revved its engine in preparation for takeoff, according to TMZ. The blast from the engine blew her off her feet and flung her against a concrete wall. She was reportedly rushed to a nearby hospital, where she died from head injuries sustained when her body hit the concrete wall.
Tourists participating in the “jet engine challenge” often hold on to the fence to test their ability to withstand the blast of jet engines (see videos below). However, when the jet unleashed its blast, the woman was unable to withstand it. Although she tried to hold on to the fence, the blast blew her backward and forcefully into a concrete barrier nearby. After the airliner had moved away, people rushed to the scene to try to resuscitate her, but she was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Although the airport at St. Maarten is often described as one of the most dangerous in the world, the danger applies mostly to spectators at the nearby public beach close to the airport runway and not to airline passengers.
The famous runway is sandwiched between the public beach at one end and a mountain at the other. Planes approaching to land at the airport must pass very low over the beach, which is usually filled with tourists who come to experience the thrill of being “skimmed over” by a plane landing at the airport.
Videos and photos of excited beachgoers watching and filming as a plane makes a “dangerous” landing by passing very low over them are popular on social media.
However, some thrill-seekers would approach the runway and stand very close to the fence to snap selfies. Many will approach the fence and hold on to it to feel the blast of the engine of a plane preparing to take off. Tourists and other visitors take the risk of standing close to the runway and holding on to the fence despite multiple warning signs set up by the airport authorities asking people to stay away. In fact, the warning signs near the fence have become popular selfie spots for thrill-seekers visiting the beach to “do the jet blast challenge.” Dozens of people can usually be seen during the day holding on to the fence as a plane prepares to take off.
This is not the first time that a tourist has been blown against the low concrete wall opposite the fence at the airport by a passenger plane revving up its jet engine. In 2012, a female tourist was blown by a jet engine against the concrete barrier, but she survived.
[Featured Image by Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock]