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Jet blast at seaside airport kills tourist

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.

Island runway borders on beach, tourists regularly ignore multiple warning signs

Beach crowds observe low flying airplanes landing near Maho Beach on island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. (Alexey Y. Petrov/Shutterstock)

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.

Many people come just for the thrill.— Police spokesman Ricardo Henson

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 60 metres 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."

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