This Famous Plane Spotting Beach Is Making Changes After Tourist's Death
The runway at Princess Juliana Airport, in Sint Maarten, is consistently named one of the scariest airport landings in the world.
It also often tops the bucket lists of aviation enthusiasts who want to get up close and personal to aircraft.
However, one week after the death of a tourist who got too close to a plane’s jet blast, Sint Maarten government officials announced that they will reroute traffic along the runway to keep tourists further away.
At the moment, plane spotters who visit Princess Juliana Airport can watch takeoffs from the sand of Maho Beach or on a fence at the end of the airport’s runway — despite posted signs warning visitors about jet blasts’ potential to cause injury or death.
Within the coming months, government officials will reroute vehicular traffic away from the airport runway. A government minister told local news that they then intend to move the airport’s fence further away from where the planes take off.
Although the government minister said there are no plans to shut down the beach to plane spotters, the move signals a change in how tourists will be able to view planes as they take off.
This month’s incident was the first recorded death at the beach, however it was not the first serious injury. In 2012, a tourist was blown backwards by a jet blast and hit her head on a concrete barrier.
Jet blasts are so powerful, they can “up-root trees, flatten building structures, shatter windows, lift and propel heavy objects” up to 5,000 pounds, according to a a NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System survey.