Sad news broke today, a New Zealand traveller has died as a result of being blown over by a jet engine on the iconic Maho Beach in St Maarten.
The Dutch territory in the Caribbean, and Maho Beach in particular, is famous worldwide for its closeness to the island’s Princess Juliana International Airport.
Everyday photos and videos of planes landing, passing just metres above tourists, are added to various social media channels.
Sadly, today is an example of how dangerous it can be and should act as a stark warning to others looking for that thrill.
Along the top of Maho beach is a fence keeping people from trespassing into the airport. Despite the warning signs advising people against getting too close to it, it is common to see people cling on as the thrust from the jet engines pummel their senses.
On this occasion, the lady couldn’t hold on, was blown off her feet and landed very hard on her head, she didn’t survive. Read the article on the BBC website here: Saint Maarten jet engine blast kills New Zealand woman
Are selfie related deaths on the increase?
To me, this news acts as a wake-up call and a reminder that when you are in a foreign country, warning signs are just as important as they are at home.
All too often it is easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit, feeling invincible.
Especially when you see other travellers doing things that look like fun, often for a cool picture or selfie. It seems that more and more I am reading news stories of people getting them hurt, or worse, seeking adventure.
Examples that spring to mind are people who have fallen from buildings or cliff edges trying to get ‘that’ photo to impress their friends. This example from an American tourist in Greece is just one of many selfie-related deaths.
Another example could be the time that a British tourist wasn’t hurt physically, but was arrested for taking a naked picture on top of a sacred mountain in Borneo. I bet it seemed like a great idea at the time, but seriously, have some respect.
I’m not immune from stupidity
I had my own brush with invincibility stupidity. When I was younger (18 and dumb), after a night drinking I thought I could climb up the outside of my Ibiza hotel to my third-floor balcony. Luckily I managed it, only to realise I couldn’t open the door from the outside meaning I had to spend the night sleeping on the hard tiled ground until my friend found me the next morning.
Sometimes I think back now and can’t believe what an idiot I was, but it’s not uncommon. Sorry mum if you’re just finding out about this, I never dared to tell you face to face for fear of what you’d call me – deservedly so.
Stay safe when travelling
Anyway, I guess my point is, this sad event is another reminder that no matter how invincible you feel on holiday, you are not. Signs and warnings are there for a reason, just because you see others doing it, doesn’t mean it’s safe.
You are in a foreign country, you can still be hurt, what’s worse, the doctors may not even speak your language. Stay safe.
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