The sign couldn’t be more explicit: “DANGER,” it reads, “Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death.”
But that doesn’t stop scores of tourists standing on a St. Maarten beach and up against a wire fence each day during the summer season anticipating the event like it’s a theme park ride. And the event is this: wait until one of the many passenger planes starts its jet engines before it taxis to the runway, and see if you can withstand the blast.
Most get blown into the ocean or fall down on the sand. But in 2017, a 57-year-old tourist from New Zealand was killed as a Boeing 737 took off from the Caribbean beach airport, and was flung backwards into a concrete barrier on the beach.