A superstitious elderly passenger delayed a flight in Shanghai after throwing coins at the engine for good luck, a Chinese airline has confirmed. The 80-year-old woman threw her change at the China Southern Airlines flight as she crossed the tarmac to board. She told police she launched the coins as she "prayed for safety" on Tuesday.
Of the nine coins launched, only one hit its intended target – but this was enough to force the evacuation of 150 passengers. The flight eventually took off at 6:16 p.m. and arrived at its destination more than five hours late. The woman, surnamed Qiu had no criminal record or mental disease. Her neighbor said Qiu is a Buddhist, police said.Lucky Coins
The passengers who already boarded were then asked to get off and mechanics had to check whether there are remaining coins in the engine. Mechanics finished the inspection at around 4:50pm and found one coin in and eight around the engine. A police photo shows the total value of the coins adds up to 1.7 yuan (about 25 US cents), but local media estimated the cost of engine inspection and flight delay could easily run in the thousands of dollars.
"After investigation the involved passenger surnamed Qiu said she threw the coins to pray for safety. According to Qiu's neighbour, Qiu believes in Buddhism."Passenger throws coins into plane engine for 'good luck'.
The story quickly went viral across China, the world's second-largest aviation market and home to some of its most delayed airports. Given frequent complaints about the lack of information on the delays, at least for once everyone knows who to blame.
The Chinese state media said that the elderly passenger will not face police action. The People’s Daily newspaper, citing police, said that while she had broken the law and would normally serve five days behind bars, she is exempted because she is aged over 70.