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Spectacular airport witness to spectacular near miss

It’s an airport already famed for its approaches, but this aborted landing has probably taken its reputation to a new level.


St Maarten’s runway attract tourists from afar, thanks to incoming planes that fly just metres over a busy beach.


But during a recent landing at the Caribbean island, it was the passengers, who probably had raised hairs on the back of their necks.


The plane, a WestJet Boeing 737 was attempting a landing at St Maartens, but came in way too low, approaching at a level not much higher than its own wingspan. posted the incident in a video on YouTube.



Christine Garner, an aviation photographer, also captured the moment from a hotel overlooking Maho Beach, telling Forbes she feared a crash.



Kyle St Hilaire, a passenger on the flight, said he knew something was wrong as soon as the plane came out of the clouds.


“I looked out the window and saw we were way too close to the water without seeing any land,” he said.


“Then I felt a violent acceleration and an aggressive pitch up felt like a roller coaster.”


St. Hilaire described the atmosphere on the plane as "tense".


The plane landed safely on its second attempt.



Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 12 March 2017

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