Princess Juliana International Airport, in St. Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin island, was inaccessible Wednesday, according to the Royal Netherlands Navy.
Officials released a photo taken from a helicopter of the airport after Hurricane Irma slammed through the region with winds topping 175 mph. Nearby buildings appeared to have had their roofs torn off and debris appeared scattered across the airport's field.
The airport closed Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of the storm.
The eye of Hurricane Irma passed over St. Martin around 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported. Photos posted by French weather observatory Kerauos showed sand and debris inside the airport and spread across the tarmac.
The airport is popular among visitors who would gather at nearby Maho Beach to watch the planes fly relatively close overhead, The Washington Post reported. Planes landing at or taking off from the airport had to fly low because of the runway's proximity to the shoreline.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see the airport, the homes and hotels in ruins,” Julie Young, a Virginia resident who visited St. Martin in June, told The Washington Post. “The Maho Beach plane-watching was spectacular.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Irma was a storm of “epic proportions” that left “wide-scale destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses,” according to the AP.
“Houses are under water, cars are floating through the streets, inhabitants are sitting in the dark, in ruined houses and are cut off from the outside world,” Rutte said after a meeting of the government’s crisis committee.
The island territory is home to about 40,000 people.
The event formerly known as Home World has a new name and new location.Get totally inspired for spring as you find hundreds of ways to improve your home. Make your home the one you really want. Show open daily duringmall hours. Admission is free!
Landscaping and Outdoors
Get ready for Spring and Summer and transform your outdoor space into something that feels like you’re on vacation
Make sure to visit our demonstration stage during the entire show. There will be exciting demonstrations on how to re-purpose and design thanks to Monarch Market Affair.
Meet Barry Williams from The Brady Bunch
Join us as we welcome Me-TV superstar Barry Williams who played the iconic Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch TV Show. Meet him and get an autograph on February 10th stage side at center court in front of Macy’s.
The line will start forming when the Mall Opens, and Barry’s First appearance will be at 11 a.m.
Come prepared with your camera or cell phone for the Meet and Greet.