Gayleen McEwan, 57, was at the world famous Princess Juliana Airport – where aircraft take off from just above holiday-makers’ heads.
The mother-of-three, from Blenheim, in New Zealand’s South Island, reportedly smashed her head after being blown over by the sheer force of the low-flying plane on Wednesday at around 6pm (July 12).
Ms McEwan, a motel owner, was on holiday with her husband, Phill, and two friends.
Her sister-in-law, Janice McEwan, said: “We’re just devastated, that’s the word that comes to mind. We’re still taking it all in.
“We’re just in shock. She was having a fantastic holiday. That’s what makes it harder, she was having a good time on holiday and then this happens.”
Ms McEwan’s daughter, Kelly, posted a photo of her and her mother online which prompted an outpouring of condolences from friends and family.
The airport, in the Dutch Caribbean territory of Sint Maarten, is known for its proximity to the beach.
Tourists gather to watch the planes fly over the sea and beach to land.
Rolando Brison, director of tourism for the island, told the New Zealand Herald: “I met with the family of the deceased… and while they recognised that what they did was wrong, through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that risk they took turned out in the worst possible way.
“At this time I only wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones while we continue to investigate what transpired just hours ago.”
Shockingly, a video was posted to Facebook of Ms McEwan’s last moments as she lay prone on the ground as people around her performed CPR.
The disturbing clip has since been removed, but you can still watch the “as it happened” video here:
Mr Brison did not want to comment further on the details of the shocking incident.
The island is just 13.4km long and 15.8km wide and comprises two separate countries: Saint Martin on its French side and Sint Maartan on its southern, Dutch side.
The fence on Maho beach, on the Dutch side, is just 160ft (50m) from the beginning of the runway.
There are prominent warning signs of the dangers that instruct tourists not to stand near the fence.
In 2012 a young woman was seriously injured after she was thrown against a concrete barrier.