SXM Accident Compels Authorities to Limit Access to Planespotters
Most Avgeeks dream of plane spotting and 'fence surfing' at Maho Beach, adjacent to the runway at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten (SXM). However, it looks like the days of getting up close and personal with jet blasts from departing aircraft are limited: St. Martin News Network is reporting that the local government will reroute traffic away from the road that runs in between the end of the runway and the beginning of the beach, signaling that it's going to try to end this decades-old hobby. It's not intending, however, to cut off access to the beach.
The crackdown comes about a week after a New Zealand tourist lost her life from jet blast-related injuries at Maho Beach. Danger signs are present to warn beachgoers about potential injury or death from getting too close to jet blasts, though currently there is no physical barrier preventing those who want to fence surf from doing so.
We reached out to the government of St. Maarten for comment, and it does seem that its end goal is to completely restrict access to the potentially dangerous area, perhaps by moving the existing fencing farther away from the end of the runway. However, according to the official we spoke with, it could be weeks or months before anything changes. If you've been wanting to planespot at SXM, you'd be wise to book your ticket as soon as possible.
H/T: Lufthansa Flyer