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.