SHANGHAI: She was flying Lucky Air, but that wasn't enough for an elderly Chinese woman who tossed coins at the jet's engine to wish for a safe flight, prompting authorities to detain her and ground the flight.
The incident occurred on Wednesday (Oct 19) at the airport in the city of Anqing in eastern China's Anhui province, according to authorities, and was at least the second such report this year of a safety scare caused by a coin-tossing elderly Chinese.
Fellow passengers reported that coins were tossed at the engine of a Lucky Air jet during boarding, and ground crew later found coins lying on the tarmac next to the plane, according to various statements by the airline, airport authorities, and transport police.
A 76-year-old woman was subsequently taken into custody, transport police said. It was not clear whether she would face charges. Lucky Air is under the Hainan Airlines group.
The flight, which was to depart Anqing for the city of Kunming in southwestern China, was grounded overnight as a safety precaution. The passengers were subsequently flown to Kunming the following morning, authorities said.
In June, a superstitious 80-year-old woman delayed a China Southern Airlines flight at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport for nearly six hours after she tossed nine coins at the engine from the tarmac while boarding, with one nestling inside.
The woman was detained but eventually spared prosecution due to her age, state media reported. Shanghai airport authorities said she was a devoted Buddhist and believed the act would ensure her safety on the flight to the southern city of Guangzhou.