Plane flies yards above tourists' heads in video shot at Caribbean island Saint Martin's Maho Beach

'Amazing! Probably one of the lowest St Maarten landings I've ever seen'

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The Independent US

Tourists have captured close-up footage of passenger plane flying just yards above their heads as it comes in to land on a Caribbean island.

Video shows the PAWA Dominicana flight banking as it approaches Saint Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport, before people on Maho Beach cheer as it flies over them.

The pilot of the MD 83 aircraft was praised for the landing in comments posted alongside the online footage, which has been viewed almost 100,000 times.

"The low height was no stunt, could see from distance the plane was banking a lot on approach," the user who uploaded the clip wrote.

One user commented: ​"Amazing! Probably one of the lowest St Maarten landings I've ever seen."

Another user wrote: "I bet the pilot felt a lot of pressure, what with now not only his own passengers but also the hundreds of people below him in his care!"

Aviation photographers and plane-spotters flock to the island because it boasts one of the closest beaches to a landing strip in the world.

Maho Beach lies on the Dutch side of the northeast Caribbean island, which has been partitioned between the Netherlands and France since 1648.

The jet blasts from the wake of a plane can be so powerful that surrounding signs warn tourists of severe injury and possible death.

Saint Martin, which is known as Sint Maarten on the Dutch side and Saint Martin on the French, was the home of Amerindians from mainland South America from about 800BC until 1493, when Christopher Columbus is supposed to have "claimed" the island for the Spanish.

The French, Spanish, British and Dutch then fought with one another for control of the territory as well as brought slaves to exploit commercial interests for several hundred years.

In 2003, the population of the French part of the island voted to become a separate overseas collectivity of France - and remains part of the European Union.

The Dutch side is regarded as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.