Sint Maarten’s Maho Beach, a popular destination for thrill-seekers, proved deadly for one 57-year-old tourist from New Zealand.
The tiny beach lies next to the Princess Juliana International Airport, separated only by concrete, a road and a chain link fence. Because planes are forced to fly just over beachgoers’ heads, tourists will often hold on to the fence while planes take off and land in order to be hit by the jet blasts.
Here’s a video from April 2012 that provides a good visual example of tourists clutching to the fence as a plane prepares for takeoff.
In a tragic twist of fate for one tourist this week, the stream was so powerful that it knocked her from the fence and caused her to knock her head on the ground. She later died from her injuries at the hospital.
“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,” said island tourism director Rolando Brison in an interview.
There are warning signs present at the fence as well as viral videos showing the potential dangers of just how close the planes can get to the beach.