Pudong, China – Wishing for “good luck”, an elderly woman inadvertently delayed a flight for hours after tossing coins into the engine.
Airbus 320 was scheduled to fly from Pudong to Guangzhou when an 80-year-old woman who’s last name is Qiu was observed tossing coins into the engines; her intentions were to “wish a safe flight.” Unfortunately, any metal inside a gas turbine can lead to serious problems including engine failure, so more than 150 passengers who were already aboard were asked to disembark while the mechanics looked over the engine.
The woman was detained by Shanghai police at Pudong International Airport; she was traveling with her husband, daughter, and son-in-law.
China Southern Airlines released a statement on Weibo, a Twitter-like program: “A senior passenger threw coins to the plane’s engines and delayed the flight. The passenger involved has been taken away b police. In order to make sure the flight is safe, China Southern maintenance has conducted a full exam of the plane’s engine.”
The police added; “After an investigation, the involved passenger surnamed Qiu said she threw the coins to pray for safety. According to Qiu’s neighbor, Qiu believes in Buddhism.”
Crews managed to find eight coins that missed the engines scattered on the ground and one that made its mark. It took five hours for the inspection, which was ordered after another passenger saw Qiu tossing coins and notified the crew.
Qiu has no criminal record and has no indication of mental illness. She was acting in accordance with Buddhist belief that tossing coins and praying for luck in nearly any aspect of life, will result in the tossers wish being granted. Thankfully, or ‘luckily’ in this case, there was no damage done to the plane or its engines, and after a long delay, the passengers were once again back on their way.