A thrill-seeking woman who tried to hold on tight to a beachside fence Wednesday as a jet took off on the other sidedied after the plane’s blasts propelled her into a concrete barrier.
The unnamed New Zealand tourist had likely been trying to take part in what some have dubbed “jet surfing.”
Similar stunts have been attempted before at the beach, which lies on the island of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean and sits adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport.
Because the airport’s runway is relatively short in comparison to other runways, planes must first rev their engines to build up enough momentum before they can take off.
Over the years, beachgoers have repeatedly used this fact to their advantage to participate in the so-called sport of “jet surfing,” despite what aviation commentator Peter Clark noted were immense risks.
“People know the dangers,” he remarked to The New Zealand Herald. “It would pick you up like a piece of paper.”
Thrill-seekers continue to participate in jet surfing despite the litany of signs on the beach warning of the dangers of this activity.
While dozens have been injured in recent years from this dangerous stunt, Wednesday’s death marked reportedly was a first, though a similar incident occurred 2012 when a woman was reportedly flung into the same concrete barrier but survived.
Video of the 2012 incident is below, though it contains GRAPHIC FOOTAGE:
Government and airport officials reportedly intend to meet soon to discuss new safety measures to prevent more deaths.
For the time being, tourists are being urged to be careful and rethink taking part in this hazardous stunt.
“Many tourists come to the island to experience the thrills of the landing of approaching aircraft’s flying low above their heads and the holding on to the airport fence and standing in the jet blast of large aircraft’s taking off,” Sint Maarten police wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “Doing this is however extremely dangerous.”
“The local authorities are urging the general public and mainly visitors to the island to adhere to the warning signs that are placed at that location to avoid serious injuries which can ultimately lead to the loss of life.”
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