Almost anyone with a passion for aviation knows about Princess Juliana Airport located on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Most ‘avgeeks’ see it as a bucket list destination due to the fact that your are literally standing beneath aircraft that are only a few yards overhead as they land at ‘SXM’. Others enjoy hanging on to the fence at the base of the runway only to be treated to jet thrusts of 747s as the spool up their engines for take off.
Unfortunately, one such thrill seeker was killed yesterday when she attempted to hang on to the fence during the take off of a Caribbean Airlines 737. According to Fox News, she apparently lost her grip and was thrown from the fence, landing in such a manner that resulted in her death a short time later.
Though tragic for her friends and family, I hope that the airport authorities do not over react to this and create policies that prevent people from pursuing this ‘thrill’. It’s still on my bucket list and I’m sure it’s on the list of thousands of others that enjoy this sort of thing.
The airport and beach go to long lengths to warn visitors of the potential dangers that exist with being to close to the airport. Signs are posted along the base of the runway, and common sense can also be helpful. Hopefully the airport does not over react and ruin an ‘institution’ that has been popular with visitors for decades.
Fortunately, the family of the deceased agreed that what she did was wrong and that she was aware of the risks and signage warning people about the area.
Airport authorities said an investigation will take place to confirm the chain of events that lead to her death.
What are your thoughts? Should the airport put measures in place to stop the thrill seekers, or allow it to continue at our own risk?