St Marteen airport destroyed by Hurricane Irma
(Mirror, UK) – St Maarten’s world famous airport, where planes fly just above tourists’ heads, has been devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Terrifying footage shows the moment the 185mph storm ripped through Princess Juliana International Airport, destroying safety fences and battering nearby Maho beach.
Sand was flung onto the runway and huge rocks smashed into planes as the storm swept over the tiny Caribbean island today.
The full devastation was revealed after the storm passed, with photos revealing the check-in lounge had been flooded and walkways completely destroyed.
Huge chunks of the building had also been strewn across the runway and a jet bridge snapped in half.
Hurricane Irma slammed into the French-Dutch island early this morning leaving a trail of devastation as homes, hotels and government buildings were reduced to rubble.
Mass evacuations immediately got underway as aid agencies braced themselves for a “major humanitarian response”.
So far, there has been no reported loss of life.
Usually offering a paradise getaway for sun-seeking tourists, footage from the island shows flooded roads and broken structures.
Holidaymakers have barricaded themselves into hotels and villas as powerful winds continue to batter the already shattered island.
Alex Woolfall, who is staying on the island, told how he and other holidaymakers huddled in the concrete stairwell of their hotel as the “apocalyptic” noise of the winds roared outside.
The PR executive, from London, tweeted: “Still thunderous sonic boom noises outside and boiling in stairwell. Can feel scream of things being hurled against (the) building.”
He added: “My God this noise! It’s like standing behind a jet engine!!
Constant booms and bangs. At least concrete stairwell not moving.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said government buildings, the sturdiest on the island, have also been wrecked by Irma’s incredible force.
He said: “We know that the four most solid buildings on the island have been destroyed which means that more rustic structures have probably been completely or partially destroyed.”
The island has been without electricity since 6am this morning and police have reported several roofs have been torn off buildings during the storm.
France has requisitioned planes and sent in emergency food and water rations.
Princess Juliana airport is well known for planes landing by the skin of their teeth and attracts plane spotters from around the world.