A China Southern Airlines flight was delayed for five hours on Tuesday, 27 June, after an elderly Chinese woman threw metal coins into the plane's engine to ensure "good luck"
Her bizarre incident forced nearly 150 passengers to be evacuated from the plane that was scheduled to take off for Guangzhou in southern China.
Following the incident, the Chinese woman was detained by police at Shanghai airport.
"The passenger, surnamed Qiu, who has no prior criminal record or mental health issues, claimed she tossed coins as a prayer for a safe flight," Shanghai Police said.
Fellow passengers spotted her tossing the coins inside the plane's engine from halfway up the boarding staircase
After crew members were alerted, they asked the passengers who had already boarded to get off the plane so that engineers could inspect the engine.
Upon inspection, a total of nine metal coins were found. While eight of them were on the ground, one coin was found inside the engine.
While police have decided to not jail the woman because of her age, her superstition came at a heavy cost for the airline
According to local media estimation, the total cost of the delay and of opening up the engine to check it could be more than USD140,000.
Moreover, it was sheer luck, in a sense, that someone spotted the woman's actions and alerted crew members before the flight took off.
"If nobody had reported someone throwing coins into the engine, the consequences could have been unthinkable,” a senior flight mechanic told Xinmin Evening News.
Meanwhile, the captain of the flight was quoted as saying the metal coins, if sucked up by the engine, could have caused serious damage, including engine failure
The flight was given a green light to take off after being delayed for five hours.