A superstitious 80-year-old passenger delayed a flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou for five hours and narrowly avoided jail time after she threw coins at a plane's engine for good luck on Tuesday.
A passenger spotted the elderly woman, who was travelling with her husband, daughter, and son-in-law according to Beijing Youth Daily and AFP. The incident was reported, and police detained the woman, while the 150 passengers were taken off the plane so that ground crew could inspect the engine.
Eight of the coins missed their target, but one made its way inside an engine, leading to the massive delay.
"A senior passenger threw coins to the plane's engine and delayed the flight. The passenger involved has been taken away by police," China Southern Airlines said in a statement. "In order to make sure the flight is safe, China Southern maintenance has conducted a full exam of the plane's engine."
Police added: "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. The plane is boarding again for takeoff."
They went on to clarrify that Qiu has no prior criminal record or mental health issues, and that the case will be investigated further.