I’ve stood in that exact same spot.
That’s the first thought I had when news of the incident at St. Barth’s airport made the rounds a couple weeks ago. Actually, not only had I stood right there but I even thought it was a questionable position to be in so I moved lower and inside the fence to behind the warning sign, a move which attracted the attention of the airport authorities and earned us a stern talking to in both French and English.
Make sure to sue the VR controls and pan around in the video above ~ 6 seconds in. You can see how close it gets.
I stood right there and watched the planes land just a few feet above my head.
Turns out that this particular incident was the first time the pilot was making the approach following his classroom training for landing at the Gustaf III Airport. It is known to be one of the most challenging approaches in the world with two large hills on either side of the approach and swirling winds in between. His instructor indicated over the radio that he was too low at the final moment, passing over the traffic circle and entering the airport grounds. And still there were no injuries nor major impact from the event, save for massive media hype suggesting that a guy standing in front of a warning sign was almost decapitated.
But I’ve stood right there and watched the planes coming in. It is an amazing experience but one which comes with certain responsibilities, much like everything in life. Knowing your surroundings and paying attention to what is happening is far more important than getting the “perfect” shot.
Expect more and potentially larger warning signs at the traffic circle in coming weeks. Not that the danger is at all subtle even without them.
Top image screen grab from YouTube video included above.
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.