Passengers detained after throwing coins into plane engine for 'good luck'
Most superstitions and habits are fairly harmless, but in the case of this airline, it could have posed a serious danger. Two passengers were removed from a flight last week, after they threw coins into a plane's engine. The two women were detained by police in east China after throwing the coins for a safe flight and good luck.
260 passengers had to wait for two hours as the plane was delayed, leaving them stranded in Jinan, Shandong province in China. Reports say that the Lucky Air flight, heading to Chengdu, Sichuan, was delayed after two women in their 20s reportedly threw a one yuan coin as they were boarding the plane at Jinan Yoaqiang International Airport.
They were reportedly wishing for a safe journey, but luckily a staff member saw what they were doing and alerted the authorities. After the police arrived, the two women were detained, and coins were found on the ground near the plane. One witness who was on the same flight told video news site Pear that two uniformed officers removed them from the plane after an announcement.
"All the other passengers were speechless," she said. "We didn't think something like this could actually happen. They looked like they were in their mid-20s."
A spokesperson for Lucky Air said that eventually the pilot decided to go ahead with the flight, as luckily the coins hadn't made their way into the engine. The flight took off and thankfully landed at Chengdu airport safely and without incident - though they were still two hours late.
It was only recently that a similar incident took place on the same airline. One 28-year-old man, known by the surname Lu, admitted to throwing coins into the engine of a Lucky Air flight while boarding. His flight from Anqing, Anhui province to Kunming, Yunnan, was grounded and eventually cancelled.
The man was reportedly detained by authorities for a week after the coins were found. Due to the 162 passengers inconvenienced and the 140,000 yuan ($20,900) it cost the airline, Lucky Air chose to sue him. "The incident caused a direct economic loss of nearly 140,000 yuan, and our company will press charges against the passenger in accordance with the law," a spokesman for the airline said.
Following this incident, a professor at Civil Aviation University of China provided a report on the potential harms of such behaviour. Ouyang Jie told China Daily that an aircraft could be severely damaged or even destroyed by even such a small object.
"The engine could tremble, lose speed and even stop in mid-air if a coin were sucked into its core," he said. "That would put all the passengers on board at great risk."
Hopefully, after several instances of this taking place (and more than one for the perpetually unlucky Lucky Air), passengers will choose to put this particular superstition aside, for the sake of a safe flight.