On Maho Beach, on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, there is more to do than just sunbathe and swim.
The beach is located right next to Princess Juliana Airport, giving tourists the unique experience of having a jumbo jet flying only a few meters above their heads.
When airplanes prepare themselves for take off, the jet engines point right onto the beach. Thrill seekers can actually hang on to the security fence and be blown off their feet in the ensuing jet blast.
Anyone in the path of the blast who is not holding onto something, can find themselves blown into the water.
The runway is short too, which only exacerbates the issue. In order to land safely, pilots make their final approach at the minimum safe altitude.
This makes the beach one of the few places in the world where a person can stand beneath a landing Boeing 747 or Airbus A380 and see it fly just a few metres above them.
A whole mini-tourist industry has been created around the phenomena.
Local bars have boards with details of airplane arrivals and departures. Some even broadcast the radio transmissions from the airport control tower; adding to the airplane theme and giving beach-goers time to position themselves for the experience.
And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to stand beneath a jet plane flying so close it almost feels as if you can reach up and touch it.
The local government has made efforts to warn the public of the dangers involved. An additional fence has been added to stop people getting as close to the jet blast as they once did, and there are signs giving warning that airplane take offs could result in ‘extreme bodily harm and/or death’.
The practice sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but so far no fatalities have been reported. the last accident occurred in 2012, when a woman was blown against a concrete curb, (see video below). She suffered a deep cut to her forehead but sustained no other injuries.
The destination has received a lot of media attention over recent years, with tourists travelling there just to experience the effect of a jet engine blast to the face. As a result there is no shortage of captured footage on Youtube.