An 80-year-old Chinese passenger stopped on the tarmac to "bless" the plane with coins.
A China Southern Airlines flight was stuck in Shanghai for five hours after an elderly woman threw coins into the engine for “good luck.”
The 80-year-old stopped on the tarmac to make “blessings” as she was boarding her Guangzhou-bound flight and then threw nine coins into the engine turbine, according to the Independent.
Her “good luck” ritual prompted concerned passengers to alert airline staff, who conducted a full examination of the engine and evacuated 150 passengers.
Staff members found that one coin had landed in the engine and expressed concerns over the potential damage it could have caused had it been sucked into the mechanism.
The woman was later detained by police, the airline said.
“After investigation the involved passenger surnamed Qiu said she threw coins to pray for safety. According to Qiu’s neighbor, Qiu believes in Buddhism,” police said, according to the Daily Mail.
On a forum I frequent, this story prompted a couple of interesting responses.
One: I witnessed a similar event. I worked at airports for about a decade and the first of five aircraft accidents I've seen was a DC - 9 that took off on a slushy snow covered runway in Redding, CA. It was unusual to get that much snow in Redding and we watched the aircraft take off after a long delay that morning. The main wheels were spewing slush into both intakes and right at the point of no return an engine coughed/banged and the pilots had to preform an emergency stop. My boss and I expected the worst and we both thought about picking up wounded bodies with the shop Rambler. It was very close but they managed to stop it before it ran off the runway.
Two: Coins can destroy an engine and then again may not. A weapons guy tossed an arming pin on the ground in front of an A-7D and it went down the intake. The crew chief on the ground cord called for an emergency shut down. The plane was towed to the ramp and the engine shop bore scoped the engine. IIRC one fan blade had a nick that was smoothed out and it flew later that day. The fan section cut the streamer off and it went through the engine. The pin went through the fan bypass duct and shot out the tail pipe. I saw a F-100D suck a small bird down the intake right when the pilot lit the afterburner. A fireball the size of a VW beetle came out the tail pipe. The pilot said every engine gauge red lined and went to normal so he taxied back to the ramp. The plane flew home that day. Then again a small rock or bolt can shell out a compressor. A C-130/P-3/E-2 prop turns at 1076RPM. Believe it or not birds can get past the prop and into the engine intake. Not often but I've seen it happen.
I bet there are a multitude of fascinating stories like these out there.