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St. Maarten beach-goer throws ball at incoming aircraft

Photo: Rich Hazel/Facebook

“This is why we can’t have nice things.”

That was the first thought that crossed my mind when I saw this Facebook post on friend’s wall today. Exactly one week after a tourist lost her life while “surfing the fence” at the Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, another tourist was spotted throwing a ball at an incoming Amerijet 767 freighter a few days ago.

According the Richard Hazel, a renowned plane spotter in St. Maarten, he was out at Maho Beach on Wednesday taking photos when he saw someone in the water throwing a ball at the Boeing 767-300ERF that was mere moments from touching down at the airport.

I went out peacefully spotting Wednesday….
I heard the Jamaican lady cursing out a lil fella in the water because he threw something at an Aircraft.
Now I’m seeing what happened…
Like I say again…we need to STOP BABYING them. I know they’re our BIGGEST source of income… but they can Easily destroy it too….

It appears that the ball did not strike the airplane or get ingested by the engine, but it is definitely behaviour that is frowned upon many, especially the locals.

After speaking with Richard, he mentioned that while plane spotting is not an officially recognized form of tourism in the country, it definitely attracts many tourists to the island, whether it be by air or sea.

I do not need to shine any more negative light on my island, but things like this really does upset myself, fellow spotters and other visitors.

Good to warn people of the dangers this can cause. All fun and games until someone get hurt. Tourism is how we eat and things like this shines a negative light when a serious incident happens.

This incident could further add fuel to the fire, given that country’s Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, Christopher Emmanuel, recommended that the road running alongside Maho Beach be closed on the heels of last week’s tragic incident.

Minister Emmanuel suggested that the airport fence be pushed back to the sand’s edge, to reduce the possibility of people harming themselves when airplanes takeoff.

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