Big changes are on the horizon for tourists and the businesses that rely on them!
Beacon Hill entrance will be re-routed to avoid fatalities and injuries due to jet-blast.
All this following the death of a tourist at St. Maarten’s famed Maho Beach last week.
Be sure to also checkout our second blog on this story that visualizes this idea via google maps
On Wednesday, Christophe Emmanuel, a minister in the St. Maarten government suggested closing the road at the end of Runway 28 over which airplanes fly at low altitude thrilling tourists by the thousands.
Emmanuel told reporters in St. Maarten the plan would involve re-routing traffic to the residential community that uses the road and relocating businesses.
The Minister said despite the large sign boards warning people of the danger visitors to the island still go to the area and hold on to the fence for the jet blast thrill.
He said that management of PJIAE will have to get involved in solving the problems because the intention is to move the airport fence further away, remove the dividers and the concrete edge from Beacon Hill. The Minister further explained that at some point government would have to do something to avoid injuries and or death since not so long ago someone was seriously injured and most recently a loss of life.
This came as a big shock to the manager of Sunset Bar, where plane-spotters sit for hours eating and drinking and posing for selfies as planes roar by. These visitors are a major part of Sunset Bar’s business, but Melissa, who did not want to give her last name, was unaware of the government’s announcement. She said the restaurant was not asked to contribute to the planned changes.
“It’s impossible” to close the road, she said. “It’s the only road that leads to a neighborhood.”
Gayleen McEwan, a 57-year old New Zealander was doing what dozens of thrill seekers have been doing every day for years. Disregarding warning signs in English and French, she grabbed hold of the fence separating the airport runway from the road at Maho Beach and waited for the rush of air as the engines of a departing Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 spooled up for takeoff.
Unlike the others, McEwan was not able to hold on. The jet blast propelled her into a concrete Jersey barrier with a force sufficient to kill her.
What do you think? Is this the right move?