An Elderly Woman in China Delayed a Flight By Throwing Coins at the Engine for Good Luck

Jun 28, 2017

An elderly passenger caused the evacuation of nearly 150 fellow travelers on a plane in China Tuesday after she tossed a handful of coins at the aircraft — apparently in a good luck gesture for the flight's safety — with one landing inside the plane's engine.

CNN reports that police detained the 80-year-old woman after receiving reports that she had been seen on the tarmac of Shanghai's Pudong International Airport throwing money at the Guangzhou-bound flight CZ380.

"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 in a statement cited by CNN.

After evacuating the plane, an Airbus A320 operated by China Southern Airlines, police recovered one coin from inside its engine and found a further eight scattered on the ground nearby. The flight was reportedly delayed for more than five hours as a result.

Agence France-Presse reports that the carrier released a statement on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging platform, saying it had "conducted a full exam of the plane's engine" before authorizing take-off.

Other Weibo users had a field day with the story. "Grandma, this is not a wish fountain with turtles," one user reportedly wrote.


All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.