History of Runaway Bay, Jamaica

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Runaway Bay is a town in Saint Ann Parish on the northern coast of Jamaica and is considered one of the most naturally beautiful places on the island. It is a notable tourist destination located 16 km west of Ocho RĂ­os, and slightly east of Discovery Bay, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1494. Ocean View Beach is a private beach situated at Runaway Bay.

The name derives from its having been an escape route for runaway slaves. Arawaks were the first native settlers, but they were eventually overpowered by Spanish explorers.

The population according to the 2011 census was 8,640, roughly eight times the population of 1,116 determined in the 1970 census.

On Christmas Day, 1957, the town was the site of a deadly explosion of a tanker loaded with aviation fuel. The tanker had been bound for Sangster International Airport in St. James Parish. A man who had earlier been reprimanded for trying to light a cigarette by constable Joseph Pennant again did so, causing the explosion, which killed 23 people and left a further 70 in hospital in critical condition. 

Notable people born in the town include Canadian actress Samantha Kaine, who appeared in the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind