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St. Maarten beach-goer throws ball at incoming aircraft

One week after a tourist lost her life at the airport in St. Maarten, another tourist was photographed throwing a ball at an incoming aircraft. ( More...

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ADXbear 26
WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE... this will probably lead to closing that area, a place where people flock to see from around the world...we need a name and picture.. and eviction for life...a hole..
you're so right. crazy world.
Ric Wernicke 0
I think it is time to close the area not only because people need to be protected from themselves, but pilots and aircraft operators should not be burdened with the memories of those injured while they were earning a living.
Lucio DiLoreto 12
There is no cure for stupidity.
donhun1313 20
Actually there is a cure for stupidity. However 99.999% of the time the cure is fatal.
waldo kitty 6
absolutely! the only cure for stupidity is hot lead at high velocity...

ignorance, on the other hand can easily be cured by educating the ignorant... but then there's that horse and water thing to deal with...
William Castro 1
I truly agree with you....but educating the ignorant wont help..these type of individual knows what they do..he can kill innocent people by his stupid act..but he doesnt care. FBI should track down this idiot and throw him in hard labor for at least 25 years without parole..or better.
waldo kitty 2
as an american, born and bred, i have to ask what business you think the FBI has in this case... St. Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands so it is up to them what they decide to do in this case...

i won't bother to point out that you've also confused the definitions of "ignorant" and "stupid"... if he is ignorant then educating him about the possible results will help... at least he wouldn't be ignorant about that any more... if he doesn't care what his actions may cause, then what? there's still the question of stupidity but it really isn't worth trying to discuss on social media c4rp...
Dee Lowry 1
Waldo- it is important to use the social media. It may or may not educate those who don't have Common Sense. be honest with you..
Common Sense flew out the window a long time ago.people will continue to hold the fence, throw balls and who knows what. Social media is depicting the Airlines for bad customer service...well what about the unruly passengers? It's not one sided. I feel fortunate that I'm not in the aviation industry anymore. When I was a member of the Flight ethics was a given. Pax were greatful to get from point A to point B. Today...flying is out of control. Hopefully this will change in the future but as see it now...unfortuatley, air travel will only get worse.
Andrew Prakken 0
Dee, I hate to disagree with you about the word greatful. The correct spelling is "grateful", which has a Latin derivation from gratus, meaning pleasing, agreeable, thankful. (Oxford Dictionaries Online). It's also the derivation of gratitude.J
Ed Merriam 2
a ball spiked back at you at 150 kt?
James Mccloskey 21
Regardless of this idiot's ability to hit the aircraft, the intent is purely selfish and irresponsible. It's too bad there's no way to identify this "blithering moron" and lock him up for a few years given the threat to life he imposed.
Forget about the ball, what about the guy who shot that big arrow
boschpilot 2
Ten out of ten sir!
Donald Parsons 1
Too funny....
joel wiley 7
Ball Aloft Strike Hazard. Erect a pillory by the fence and put him in it for a few days.
Highflyer1950 18
Throw him in jail for 5 days, put him on the no fly list for endangering life and property then hand him a rowboat!
Stefan Sobol 5
Oh No! The internet causes a panic! Like that's never happened before.

People need to calm down.

That ball got nowhere near the airplane. The angle at which the images were taken just makes it look that way. Since the image is 2d it might look like it was close to the airplane, but if you were actually there it would look a lot different.

Compare the ball size to the tire size of the 767. In the first frames the ball fits nicely in the hand of the thrower, so it is around 4-5" in diameter. In frames where the ball overlays the aircraft, the ball now appears to have grown to a noticeable portion of the size of the main gear tire (which is a few feet in diameter). Since the ball cannot magically change size in flight, it must be significantly closer to the viewer than the airplane.

If the ball was actually close to the airplane, it would be very small and probably difficult to spot.
This is a shame, between the fatality and now this the authorities might have no choice but to shut down Maho Beach. If they do it wil be sorely missed.
Dwight Albers 4
This is right up there with people doing stupid things with lasers....
Steven Rhude 4
Not making any excuses for the ball thrower, but if you look at the aspect angle of the aircraft (and therefore its track over the water relative to where the thrower is) it is well off from the location of the ball thrower. This is a case of perspective. The ball is in the foreground and the much larger plane is in the background. You can measure this by comparing the ratio of the size of the ball (which looks very small as it leaves the man's hands) to the relative size of it compared to the wheels in the last picture. If you know the size of the wheels, you can tell how far the ball is from the plane. In my rough estimation, the ball is very far from the plane.
Additionally, the man is throwing the ball at a high angle. Again, due to the track of the plane, the ball would not come close.
Victor Engel 1
Easier to compare than tires is the landing lights, which are between 5 and 6 inches across, I think. The ball is probably half that. That puts the plane at roughly twice the distance as the ball when it appears to be right in front of the wing.
afsbob 1
SR & VE - perspective be damned. The very idea of throwing anything at a landing aircraft that is incredibly stupid regardless of object angle/height/yadda yadda. Wonder what the anal orifice will try to throw next time?
Garry Morrison 4
Why beech goers can't just enjoy plane spotting and holding on to the fence and been blown away by the jet blast. They are stupid to throw a ball to the aircraft.
mariofer 4
Another idiot looking for his moment of social media fame.
The Guy should be identified and then he should be shot in the water with a Taser Gun, just to see the Double Excitement, of him coming out of the water toward the next aircraft
Joe Birts 1
Sounds like a fun experiment. But he might like it.
well,"stupid is as stupid does", to coin a phrase from the character of forest gump..i have been to st maarten, but only on a cruise ship,and the highlight of our visit there was a guided bus tour,not playing "hit the airplane with a ball" while on a beach!
Fake news or not, it doesn't matter. His intent and actions were reckless.
Leon Kay 3
This guy probably had to many drinks at the local Bar & Grill where many of us spent a few hours waiting for the first aircraft to start arriving from about 11:00 onwards. This is never the less a great series of pictures taken by the observer.
deafsea 5
Teach that crappy guy - Throw a lot of sand to his face.
monalisa75 5
Teach them some lessons in life in Singapore's style (which I very much agreed upon and supported) corporal punishments.
matt jensen 5
Someone needs a spanking! Fortunately for him, it did no damage.
Forensics1 3
And even more fortunately for everyone on the aircraft. And the famlies, friends,and others in their lives.
ifbattleboy 7
I'm a bit skeptical of this story. Looking at the photo of the guy just about to throw the ball, the size of the ball can't be much bigger than a baseball and it might just be the angle of the camera but you would need a pretty impressive throwing arm to get the ball that high. The fact that the ball is hitting the bottom of the wing, somehow missing the flaps, and then going over the tail seems next to impossible to me. However, this is just my opinion and it might just be bad camera angles that have led me to this conclusion.

How reliable is the source of the photos and the writer of the story? seems to be the only site reporting this story. No major news corp from what I can find has reported on this.
William Barrow 2
I agree. The angle of the camera to the plane and the power of the telephoto lens compresses the distances. The ball was pictured between the jet and the camera, but nowhere near the plane. Since the camera angle was upward the ball was superimposed on the image of the plane, but closer to the guy who threw it than to the plane. All that said, the government should have someone on the beach serving as a lifeguard or security guard, considering the concentration of people, all of whom may not use common sense.
My friend in SXM took those pics and he has said he has no time to post fake pics. He works at PJIA. They are absolutely legit. Check out his Facebook page, RGTH Photography. It's all there.
Victor Engel 0
The ball went under the tail not over it. Or maybe more accurately, the tail was higher than the ball and passed over a point to the starboard side of the ball (the ball is much closer to the camera than the plane). Just compare the size of the ball to the man's head. Compare that size to the size of cockpit windows, etc. The landing lights are probably about twice the size of the ball.
Forensics1 5
Taking a second look I am skeptical of this report.

I am not an aircraft engineer nor anywhere close to having that amount of knowledge. However it seems to me that the ball could not have been that close to the engine without getting sucked in.

I have seen images of people being sucked into those intakes when they got too close. How did the ball avoid that? Also, even if it did miss the engine, why would it not go over the port wing instead of under it? Isn't that what wings do? Create a pressure differential that translates into lift?

Finally, we all know that jet engine exhaust can toss people, cars, birds etc... just like they do to the tourists at that beech. How could that ball not have been blown far out of the picture instantly instead of traveling in a path that seems oblivious to everything around it, like being feet from a 'giant' aircraft that causes so much turbulence that it can knock another aircraft out of teh sky if that aircraft tries to land in its vortex.

That camera would need to have an extremely fast shutter speed and frame rate to capture that ball which just seems to defy the laws of physics. Mass, momentum, velocity, gravity, imparted energy, wind turbulence, nothing, including the ball throwers BRAIN, seems to be working as it should with that ball and the relatively super giant aircraft in its immediate proximity.

I think its all magic.
Let me educate you, take it for what its worth. Consider the phase of flight of the aircraft. 50 feet or so above ground just before landing. That is the moment most jets are pulled to idle, therefore the engines are not producing much thrust and consequently on the intake side not taking in much more air than the ram air from the speed of the aircraft. Unless the ball happened to be in the path of the engine it would be virtually impossible for it to get sucked in. Now you have a little more knowledge. :)
Jose Suro 1
I agree. The ball is too small, about the size of a tennis ball. It has to be much close than the aircraft. Had it been close to the aircraft it would be bigger than a basketball to be in scale.

Telephotos do that. They compress distances making objects appear closer together.

Wide angles lenses are just the opposite with objects appearing to be farther from each other. That's why the warning on car passenger side mirrors wide angle mirrors) say "Objects are closer than they appear"
na Iba 2
CLOSE THE BEACH before there is a tradegy taking lives of all passengers on board. Don't allow access to getting this close to the landing plane. It might be something different next time that really can bring down the plane. Are the beachgoers screened for explosives or dangerous other devices. This does not appear to be a safe situation for anybody. Tourism has been built around this beach but Im sure the tourist will still come even if they are a little further away from planes.
Rob Kemperman 2
Why? He should know how it feels to have a tennis ball under the brake pedal. I Know. He should know how it feels that the ball gets in between a rudder...with him in the plane…
However I don’t believe that he can hit the plane.
Dee Lowry 2
I'm truley disturbed with the lack of "human" comense sense. They don't acknowledge warning signs...they do it anyway. Tourists at St. Maarten don't understand the thrust power of aircraft engines. The kid with the ball..if in fact it is true, is most likely insignificant. But if one puts a lazer or drone in it's path, that could be catastrophic. Reminds me of 2 US tourists visiting the Roman Colosseum and scratched their initials in the Roman Structure that has been a icon for Rome for thousands of years.
This incident with the idiot with the ball,with no common sense, came shortly after the death of a tourist. Guess you can't fix stupid.
toolguy105 2
It only takes one idiot to ruin things for everyone else. Now Tha this idiot a tempted and was almost successful others will follow. The goverment has no choice but to close the beach for the general saftey of all. Anyone who knows who this fellow is should report him to the local police.
To the doubters of this, my friend in SXM took the pics and has said he has no time to post fake pics. He works at PJIA and is a well-respected photographer. From the EverythingSXM site..."A number of years ago, a Canadian threw a football at an arriving passenger plane. Seeing him, the pilot radioed the tower which contacted police who arrived, arrested him, fined him, and deported him to Canada -- never to return.". Sadly, this guy in he most recent inciden, was not caught.
I wish I could edit my typos, but you know what it's supposed to say.
I wished stupidity was painful.
Stefan Sobol 1
It often is.

However, in this case the ball never got anywhere near the airplane and maybe the person throwing was not even intending to get it near the airplane. Maybe he was just throwing a ball in the air as sometimes people do when they are at the beach.

The interpretation of the images may just be rampant speculation on the part of the original poster of the images and internet viewers. Maybe their intent was simply to cause an uproar.
Karl Scribner 2
If the photos are accurate, big if, there're a lot of MLB teams that could use a guy with an arm like that.
Ron Lorenz 2
There's never a Big Shark around when you need one!
tcavin 2
arrest the idiot
Looks like we have a candidate for a Darwin award.
David Mackay 2
IMO these pictures were produced on a computer

I am not saying that the person didn't throw a ball at the plane, however, there are some interesting things that I noticed

1. All of the photos with a time stamp show the exact date and time - more like when a watermark is applied when pictures are exported using programs such as Lightroom or Photoshop

2. Looking at the position of the person in the water, I find it impossible to believe that anyone would be able to throw a ball up that high - especially looking at the supposed wave motion during the series of photos

From someone who uses post processing to make minor adjustments to my digital pictures, I know that items can be removed and or replaced on a digital image - my vote is that these are 'fake news'
Kevin Haiduk 2
I was looking at the first picture and thought there was no way he could get that ball up there. Then as I looked at the other photos I thank my anger overtook my reasoning. So don't know either way. I do know one thing - this guy is an idiot.
Victor Engel 0
Of course they were produced on a computer. How else did the arrows get there?
Dee Lowry 1
Andrew- you have that right to disagree. And I appreciate different opinions. In short...the aviation business is in "chaos". Social media can be a good thing or it can destroy anything in its path.I have witnessed the change of commercial aviation for 30 years as a Flight Crew member. Thanx for your feedback but it's hard to see the grateful" when one sees the"ungratefull"and the privilege to fly and look at the world in a beautiful and peaceful way.
waldo kitty 1
unless i missed something, he was only correcting your spelling of grateful, dee ;)
Dee Lowry 1
So sorry, Waldo.
Dee Lowry 1
Thanks for the feedback. Alot of people on the "post" make spelling errors. What makes mine so special?
Andrew Prakken 1
Dee, before 9-11, as a matter of fact from early 80 to early 90's I used to fly a lot across Canada.
Flying in those days used to be fun, as a matter of fact, we used to sometimes catch a flight 10 minutes before takeoff. A briefcase stuffed with all sort of computer equipment and floppy disks. The floppy disks were looked at, and the briefcase was sent through the metal detectors, along with yourself. Now I find flying booooring in having to be at an airport 2 hours before flight time, to check in and then sit in the lounge for the flight to be loaded. JS IMHO.
Dee Lowry 1
So what is your point, Andrew?
Andrew Prakken 1
As you said: The aviation business is in chaos. Earlier on without all the media hype, it used to be fun flying, not now. JS
Dee Lowry 1
Andrew- I totally agree with you.Flying use to, unfortunately, it's a pain in the "Prune Shoot"! Have a good night.
Leon Kay 1
If this guy is an idiot as suggested by many, he probably belongs to an American baseball team, only practising his fastball pitching technique. In stead of closing this great aircraft viewing area to all, baseball players should then be banned and only rugby and soccer players should be granted entrance.; -)
Dee Lowry 1
You know Leon, I was thinking the same thing! Send him to the baseball camp in Cuba and see if he's eligible for the Big Leads!
Dee Lowry 1
Opps another Type-o. Meant Big Leages.
Geoff Arkley 1
My story of the week!

I was at an astronomy club "Star Party" using my Laser pointer to identify stars and constellations when a gentleman, who I would previously have described as "intelligent" stated "Why don't you point it at that airplane" referring to an airliner on approach to PSP. He was quite offended when I explained I did not fancy the inside of a jail cell. DUH! Guess there's one born every minute!
Joe Birts 1
You can't get away from idiots!
Easy access is a problem. Very, very dangerous.
Larry Sauve 1
They have capital punishment in St Maarten, right?
Gary Keller 1
Before all you idiots who think is is just a game, place yourslef aboard a plane that is downed by such an act....this person should have been arrested and sent to local jail for a few months to think it over...........then make cancel all his flight privileges on airlines...let him take a bus !!!
dee9bee 1
That may just about do it for Maho Beach. However, they still need a road to that part of the island. It would be inconvenient, but I think there is access from the east, via drawbridge that could be used. Plus, I need to have access to that beach bar where my cold beer and warm conch fritters await.
D Chinn 1
To the doubters about these photos: What will the doubters about this ball thrower do in recompense if they are wrong and the plane goes down, that it didn't happen that way? Will you still say it—any of it—was a lie? Then, also, were there imaginary birds sucked into Sullenberger's US Airway's and the landed in 20-degree water for the thrill and notoriety?

Even if the perspective and the distance is misleading—even if—do you think it's OK to even pretend to throw a ball in this way? Or that St. Maarten's Beach is not this way, even though many people have show photos that the beach is this spectacularly and dangerously close to incoming planes?

Finally, is OK to even try to throw something at an incoming plane of 200+ people (or any plane at all (except for a pilot trying to kill you)? If this plane had your family or friends onboard would you deny this evidence or act by saying it was the crew's fault for their flying skills or the ocean's fault for letting this person swim in it with that intention?

When you have gone down to St. Maarten's and verified that it's impossible to get that close to an incoming flight, see if we believe your fake photos and damaged ears.
Forensics1 0
What are you talking about?
Stefan Sobol 1
At that point in the approach anything less than a catastrophic separation of a large part of the airframe will not affect the aircraft landing much. By that altitude, the landing is assured, the engines are about to go to idle, and the aircraft is already configured for landing. Yeah, the landing might be less smooth than normal, but it is unlikely to be a huge disaster. Even a total engine failure on final, while hard on the equipment, is highly survivable (see the BA 777 crash at LHR).
Dee Lowry 0
Stefan- Been there, done that...even bought the t-shirt! But but whatever is thrown into the engine could rip the engine blades and do some damage or even
Throw shrapnel into the fuselage or other critical components that makes that bird fly. But you are right. The crew would shut down that engine and most likely land with no problem. I just have a problem with stupidity and lack of common sense.
Don't wait around for the inevitable tragedy, CLOSE the road.
Not an excuse but AmeriJet are accustomed to long draggy low approaches at St Maarten. I have a couple of photos of their old 727 only about 5 ft above the fence. They seem to fly lower approaches than most.
Tom Pera 3
doesn't matter
So it was a the Pilots FAULT that he was low enough for a IDIOT to throw a Ball at their Aircraft??? I have see 747's brush the Fence top. In 1999 a NW 747 took down 39 feet of Fence. So what is your point about this post of an IDIOT throwing a Ball at the Aircraft on Approach?
canplanman 0
#fakenews. absolutely no way he could get it up and over when his arm starts at water level. gawd, most people are gullible.
To the doubters of this, my friend in SXM took the pics and has said he has no time to post fake pics. He works at PJIA and is a well-respected photographer.
Bruce Jordan 0
I now fully understand why we burned witches back in the 1600s. Too many people are allowing fake news/photos to destroy their common sense. Assuming they had any to start with. Thanks to those of you who explained this scam to the sheep...
Arthur Netteler -2
This IDIOT has to be IDENTIFIED and CHARGED with Attempting to bring down an Aircraft. The only kind of Ball that he could have thrown that high would have been a Baseball or some other HARD Ball. If a Baseball were ingested in the Turbofan Engine it would EASILY have wrecked a 2 MILLION DOLLAR Engine! And if a CATASTROPHIC EXPLOSIVE FAILURE had Occurred, even brought DOWNED the Aircraft, Killing HUNDREDS!... IGNORANCE is RAMPANT in the WORLD TODAY!
Don Sorensen 0
The thrown ball never gets close to the plane, and even if it had there are all sorts of aerodynamic reasons it would not likely impact. However, the ball or a similarly sized dangerous object could be launched from under the approach given apparently easy public access. At a minimum, security screening should be in place. Terrorism happens because it's cheap from a monetary perspective.
b oloughlin 0
It's the 'act first' and then, the 'oops? There are consequences to my actions?' mentality. Social media (which this does not seem to be) has really brought out those who 'natural selection' will hopefully find their own.
Michael Cooney 0
Come on folks. The guy could NOT get a small ball up that high and you have to ignore all the turbulence surrounding the airplane with the Slats/Flaps extended and gear down.

He was probably getting ready to swim out further and meet the aliens that live in the deeper water.

Great Photo Shop work!
Roger Curtiss 0
Once agin a quote from Bugs Bunny is certainly applicable,
"What a maroon!"
Jeffrey Smith 0
As wrong as it was I don't think that ball came nearly as close as it appears. I think it may look like it was right at the airplane because of the illusion created by the angle and shot. Also that engine would have shredded that ball with no problem. I think I would be more worried if it had the potential to hit the windshield. This is another person that was created without any intelligence, and if something tragic had happened, he would have been the first to look stupid and be claiming he did not mean it.
looks fake to me.....the arc of the ball is off....goes from front of the bird out past the tail at the same altitude.....standing in the ocean and throwing anything is tough
bsmithair -1
Someone really believes that this is real?
I guess common sense really is dead.
As reported, this came from someone's Facebook page.
And some of you believe it? is on the internet so it must be real.
john doe -1
Yeah, what Mr. Mackay said... Photoshopped. Get your panties unbunched, folks.
Jason Bell -1
Fake. Aerodynamic lift would defeat any chance of a ball thrown near vertical making it past the port trailing edge to the horizontal stab at near horizontal trajectory relative to the inbound 767. No cellphone camera could capture any ball that size with such resolution clarity.

It took NASA till the mid-1990s to finally figure out lift or concede to prevailing theory. Helicopter rotors over water are a great visual description of how lift works. The down thrust coming off the trailing edge, nearly equaling a bit under half the aircraft's weight, would send the ball packing back to the sea.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Ron Wilcher 11
Airplanes have to takeoff into the wind or use way more runway.
SFOBro 3
LOL, yeah, just use the other end of the runway, what the heck. Hey, prettier view for takeoff, right? That's too funny. And remarkably clueless. Surprised he has an account.
I may as well get it out of the way right now: These flying machines are not magic, just FYI.
WeatherWise 2
And that, sir, gets you get an F in basic aeronautics.
WeatherWise 1
Damn, I wish this site would let you edit! Gets an F in basic aeronautics! You know what I'm trying to say!
Who let the guy onto the Blog???
Andrew Prakken 1
I know the planes have to take off into the wind. So, are the winds ALWAYS coming down the mountains? That is my question!
Forensics1 1
Oh Andrew... you are so smart to be the only person to ever think of that. All of those aviation engineers, pilots, airport managers and you are the one person who broke through. I wonder why that is?
ariana suppa -2
Why does this remind me of video games....
She sees the plane as is like WE ARE UNDER ATTACKKK
Scott Campbell -2
Not even close - nice photo shop wanna be
brian Gaskill -2
These are absolutely not real. Everyone is so fired up about fake news. Spend a little time looking at the pics. First of all, the red dot isnt even a good attempt at being a real ball. Then, just look at the series...unless the ball had the ability to speed up, slow down, change its mass and hover, this just isnt possible. And finally, a dirty 767..? The balls seems to get more altitude as the plane passes.
To the poster leaving all the comments about her friend being the photographer...I saw the first 4 you left, dont worry about a 5th...
Well if you say it's fake, you must be right. smh
Doug Rositzke -2
I can't imagine a U.S. airport letting the public anywhere near a runway threshold for many reasons.. Welcome to the Banana Republic vacation spots I guess...
Roy Holleman 1
You can in many European countries, especially the Greek Islands. Must be the U.S. paranoia instead of the Banana Republics

[This comment was deleted.]

joel wiley -2
Do you think if you repeatedly shout it enough, it will make St. Maarten great again?
This is a comment that you felt needed to be posted??? I rest my case!
joel wiley 1
res ipsa loquitur
John Brinkley -3
I'm very concerned that this could grow and become a tourist attraction (like the Maho Beach fence-holders) one which could easily lead to a crash and loss of lives.


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