A superstitious passenger delayed a flight from Shanghai for several hours Tuesday after throwing coins at the plane's engine for good luck, Chinese officials said.
The elderly woman was detained by police at Shanghai Pudong International Airport following the bizarre incident, forcing nearly 150 passengers to be evacuated from the plane bound for Guangzhou in southern China.
The 80-year-old threw nine coins at an engine of China Southern Airlines flight CZ380 as she was boarding on the tarmac.
Eight of the coins missed their target but one nestled inside an engine, airport police said, adding that a passenger spotted her and reported it to authorities.
The elderly woman was travelling with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, Beijing Youth Daily said.
"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 on its Twitter-like Weibo account.
"In order to make sure the flight is safe, China Southern maintenance has conducted a full exam of the plane's engine."
The incident was soon trending on Weibo and police added in a statement: "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."
Hundreds of thousands of Weibo users had a field day, with one commenting sarcastically: "Grandma, this is not a wish fountain with turtles."
Chinese woman avoids jail after tossing coins at plane
An elderly passenger who threw coins at the engine of a plane at a Shanghai airport for good luck will not face police action, Chinese state media said on Wednesday.
The superstitious 80-year-old woman delayed the China Southern Airlines flight on Tuesday for nearly six hours after she tossed nine coins at the engine from the tarmac while boarding, with one nestling inside.
Police at Shanghai Pudong International Airport said the woman surnamed Qiu was a devoted Buddhist and believed the coin offering would ensure her safety on the flight to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
She was taken away by police after a fellow passenger reported the bizarre incident.
However 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.