Jet blast at St. Maarten’s seaside airport kills tourist

A sign near St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport warns people about the danger from airplane jet engines (courtesy: stmaartenmap/Instagram via CNN)

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten — A New Zealand tourist has been killed by the blast from a jetliner taking off at a seaside airport in the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten, officials said Thursday.

The 57-year-old woman was knocked into a wall as she tried to cling to a fence to feel the blast on Wednesday, police spokesman Ricardo Henson said by phone. He said the woman was taken to the hospital, where she was declared dead. Her name wasn’t released.

Henson said hundreds of tourists regularly ignore multiple warning signs to not stand by the fence at the Princess Juliana International Airport, which is less than 200 feet (60 meters) from the beach in the tiny territory.

“Many people come just for the thrill of this main attraction, and unfortunately this time someone lost their life,” he said.

Henson said dozens have been injured in recent years by the jet blasts, but this is the first time someone has died.

“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “It goes on all day, every day.”

**The video, below, shows planes landing at St. Maarten**