LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A superstitious passenger was blamed for delaying a flight for more than five hours Tuesday after she threw coins into the engine of a China Southern Airlines plane, a gesture she claimed was for good luck and a safe flight.
The 80-year-old woman was about to board Flight CZ380 from the middle of the boarding staircase at Shanghai Pudong International Airport around noon when she suddenly tossed a handful of coins at the jet engine of an Airbus 320, Shanghaidaily reported.
A passenger behind her alerted the crew, who evacuated 150 passengers already on board.
Mechanics had to climb into the engine to retrieve the coins. They found one coin inside the engine and eight others on the ground around it, the airline said in a statement.
After five hours and 36 minutes, the plane was deemed safe to take off and later landed safely at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Southern China.
ShanghaiDaily quoted the aircraft’s captain as saying: “The engine could tremble, lose speed and even stop in the air if a coin was sucked into the core part of the engine.”
The passenger was traveling with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
“A senior passenger threw coins to the plane’s engine and delayed the flight. The passenger involved has been taken away by police,” according to a statement posted by China Southern Airlines on its Twitter-like Weibo account.