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Jet blast puts three in hospital

Wednesday July 01, 2015 Written by Published in Health
Many people visit the jet blast area at the inland end of Rarotonga International Airport’s runway, in search of thrills. Pictured is a scene from a tourism marketing video. Many people visit the jet blast area at the inland end of Rarotonga International Airport’s runway, in search of thrills. Pictured is a scene from a tourism marketing video.

Three tourists have been discharged from hospital after sustaining injuries at the jet-blast area on the inland end of Rarotonga International Airport’s runway.

 

The tourists were all taken to hospital in an ambulance last Thursday after been blown over while watching an Air New Zealand Boeing 777 take off.

Witnesses say the air blast from the take-off was so strong that it threw the tourists to the ground injuring two of them and knocking one unconscious.

Island resident Larry Price, who told CI News about the incident, says warning signs at the area aren’t clear enough for the public to see.

“I don’t believe there is adequate protection for the public on the Nikao side of the runway.”

Firstly, he says, there is no blast screen and secondly, while there are warnings signs on the fence, there are none on the road.

Price says strong jet blasts in this area blow well beyond the road, which creates a safety issue.

“I do know that it is a popular place for young people to go and they ‘surf’ off the fence and hang on for dear life when the planes take off.”

Price says it is exciting for people who go to the runway end at the sea wall to watch planes come and go, because there aren’t many places in the world where you can go and get that close.

This seawall side is safer because it’s higher up and the blast from the jets’ engines goes well above people’s heads, Price says.

“So it’s pretty exciting in that way, but the Nikao side of the runway is just dangerous and no place for people to be standing.”

Airport Authority chief executive Joe Ngamata, says there are signs which give people fair warning of the danger posed by the jet blast.

“We don’t have any control over people going on public roads, but the signs are all there in red,” he says.

Ngamata says he understands that tourists see it as something fun to do, but some don’t realise the danger it involves.

“People just need to be careful when a jet is taking off, and it would be better for them not to cross at all until the blast has gone.”

The thrill of holding onto the fence during a jet blast was included in a recent marketing video for Cook Islands Tourism.

But destination development director, Metua Vaiimene wants to stress that it was used in the video for the humour of it, and not to advertise it as a tourist attraction.

Vaiimene says they do not want to encourage people to stand at the areas around the airport which are unsafe, and urge people to take note of the warning signs.  

5 comments

  • Comment Link Pat Tasker Friday, 03 July 2015 00:56 posted by Pat Tasker

    You can give some people the facts but you can't give them brains to understand!! Don't stand so close would be my advice to the spectator. And, Mr Price, would be better shutting up!! Its not about signage and restrictions but about intelligence and common sense. Let Rarotonga be kept as an Island that is not regulated to kill all fun.

  • Comment Link MIles Thursday, 02 July 2015 15:57 posted by MIles

    Yeah... Some people are just morons. You would have to be a moron not to understand that if those engines can lift a 777 into the air, they will blow you over without any problem at all.

    I am saying that the people who were injured in this "incident" are morons, and I hope they spend they time in hospital thinking about how moronic their actions were.

    Morons.

  • Comment Link Retire Ben Wednesday, 01 July 2015 22:48 posted by Retire Ben

    SIGNAGE????!!!! "IT COMES DOWN TO COMMON SENSE!" USE IT I DON'T THINK THAT YOU WOULD WALK STRAIGHT INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC OR A MAN-HOLE DUCK IN THE GROUND!!!!! STUPIDITY!!!! THAT'S ALL!!! AIRPORT SECURITY PATROL IS RECOMMENDED USE THEM!!!! THEY NOT THERE TO LOOK GOOD!!! EVERY FLIGHT ITS A MUST FOR THEM TO BE ON THAT CORNER OF THE SEA-WALL! HAPPY FRIDAY Y'ALL!!!!

  • Comment Link Helena Wednesday, 01 July 2015 19:06 posted by Helena

    When a tourist watches the Cook Islands Tourism video 'Katu Kanga' showing how much fun it is to be in the jetblast area..you'd want to it.
    So maybe not a good idea for CITourism to encourage the jetblast area as 10 things to do in the Cook Islands

  • Comment Link Akaau Nicholas Wednesday, 01 July 2015 16:16 posted by Akaau Nicholas

    And they say humans are intelligent!
    Tax payers money doesn't need to be spent on signage for retards who want to drive, stand or 'free surf', behind, what could possibly be about 100 knots or 185km/h of jet blast.
    Another question, how many locals get injured?? If common sense dosen't fail locals then the real issue neither Jet blast or the position of the runway. But the obvious... PEOPLE