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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The "Almost A Catastrophe!" Story

Almost a catastrophe!  Photo by Sebastien Politano.
It was an ordinary day.  Looking at photos taken by a local island resident, photographer and videographer Sebastien Politano who captured the frightening moment when the wheels of a plane landing at the St. Bart's Airport in the Caribbean made minimal contact with the man.  A few years ago, Carol and I took a day trip on the High Speed Ferry from the island of St. Martin to the nearby French island of St. Barthelemy, or just St. Barts.  Our tour included a visit to the volcanic island which is fully encircled by shallow reefs and is known to be the choice of Caribbean islands for the rich and famous as well as to eat at a small restaurant in the capital town of Gustavia, where we docked, known as Le Select where one of our favorite musicians, Jimmy Buffett, was said to have written his famous song, "Cheeseburger in Paradise."  Part of our tour was a taxi ride around the 9.7 square mile island and during the ride we traveled on the road that rose high above the island and almost directly across the flight path of planes landing at the airport.  I can still remember stopping to watch a small single-engine plane fly just feet above the cement roadway as he began his decent onto the runway of the airport.  
CLose calls seem to be the norm!
Well, that location where we stopped is the exact same location where the lucky man was standing with his DSLR trying to take photos of planes landing at the airport.  The short runway requires extremely skilled pilots, who have a special clearance, to land at the airport.  The hill above it is also the perfect place for daring, and sometimes foolish, photographers to take their chances of taking great photos.  I have taken hundreds of photos at the airport at Sint Maarten where the huge jumbo jets land directly over Maho Beach, but that is a piece of cake compared to landing at St. Barts.  I assume the fellow whose hand was brushed by the wheel of the plane realizes how lucky he is.  Not only could he have been killed, but he could have caused a major catastrophe had the plane been misdirected by a collision with the guy.  Wanting to get a great shot is one thing, but to risk not only your own life, but those on the plane, is stupid and foolish.  Here's hoping the guy learned his lesson before he does create a problem that results in death for either him or those on one of the planes landing at the airport.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   PS - The link to the video follows.


https://www.facebook.com/SXSEB/videos/1204803419529702/



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