Irma damages famous Sint Maarten airport

A Monitor Desk Report 10 Sep, 2017 | 3434 Views|-+
SINT MAARTEN: The award-winning Princess Juliana airport in Sint Maarten in the Carribean has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Available images of the famous airport, where planes fly overhead beachgoers, show devastation inside the check-in area and walkways.

Reports say that sand was flung into the runway and huge rocks smashed into planes.

The airport was closed pending cleanup and reconstruction.

In 2016, Caribbean Journal's awarded the airport the Caribbean Airport of the Year in its annual “Caribbean Travel Awards” which celebrates the best in travel and tourism across the Caribbean.

The airport it is not functional, said French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb. Support will have to be delivered via helicopter, he said.

The damage on St. Martin is so bad that some large resort companies, including Sonesta, have cancelled reservations for the rest of 2017.

Sonesta -- which has three resorts on the island, including one next to the heavily damaged airport -- said in a statement that the damage to its structures is "severe."

None of the resort's guests or staff members were harmed during the storm, Sonesta said in a statement.

There have been reports of island-wide destruction across Sint Maarten.

Collomb said the island's "four most solid buildings" on the island had been destroyed and that more rustic structures were probably "completely or partially destroyed."

At least eight people were killed and 21 more were injured on the island, Collomb said.

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