Passenger detained after throwing coins at a plane for 'good luck'
A man in China was prevented from flying and subsequently detained after he threw coins at a plane's engine reportedly "for good luck".
The 31-year-old, known only as Xia, admitted to throwing three yuan coins at a Hainan Airline 7783 jet on April 2 this year. He'd thrown them at the plane, he said, because it was his four-month-old daughter’s first time flying, and he believed the act would permit them a safe journey.
However, contrary to his intentions, his coin toss only caused him misfortune, as the plane was delayed in its takeoff by 30 minutes, and Xia was detained for 10 days for "disrupting public order".
Video footage of the incident shows Xia surreptitiously throwing the coins before stepping aboard the plane at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.
If the coins had ended up in the engine, there is a chance they could have damaged the turbine and caused total engine failure. Xia was unaware of this, and, when questioned by police, claimed that his mother-in-law advised him to do it.
Bizarrely, this is not the first incident of someone throwing coins into an engine as an act of superstition.
Just last month, the South China Morning Post reported that two women had been detained for the exact same thing.
"The Lucky Air flight, which was due to depart from an airport in Jinan in Shandong province on Sunday, was delayed for two hours after [the women] threw the coins into the air while boarding, the carrier said in a statement on Monday," SCMP detailed.
A statement from the airline noted: "After a check by the captain, we excluded the possibility of the coins entering the engine since the gap between the plane and the boarding gate was narrow and far away from the engine."
Before that, in February, a 28-year-old man named Lu was also detained - and the airline actually took legal action against him after he caused the flight to be cancelled and cost them nearly 140,000 yuan (£16,000). He was questioned on the matter after ground staff found the coins lying near the left engine on the runway, and was again discovered to have thrown them in the belief that it would give him safe travels.
Chinese officials are not entirely sure where this belief has come from, but there have been at least five incidents in two years of people jeopardising flights with the practice.
Needless to say, they are encouraging people not to follow the superstition, and instead educate themselves on the potential dangers of throwing coins into a plane engine.
In the most recent case: while Xia was detained, his wife and child were permitted to continue their journey. It is not yet clear whether or not he will face further legal action.