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Passengers and crew on board China Southern Airlines Flight 380 were left waiting and dumbfounded after the woman – believed to be in her 80s – was seen throwing a handful of coins towards the engine.
Authorities were called to the scene and the superstitious woman, who was travelling with three family members, told police she hadn’t meant to cause panic, but had simply wanted to ‘bless’ the flight.
After a thorough search lasting almost five hours, mechanics recovered nine coins, one of which was inside the engine.
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South China Morning Post reports the captain as saying that ‘the metal, if sucked up by the engine, could have caused serious damage, including failure.’
The woman will not face charges after police concluded she threw the money to pray for a safe journey. News of the incident quickly spread across Chinese social media, with one user saying: ‘Grandma, this is not a wish fountain with turtles.’
The airline later released a statement reminding customers to avoid behaviour that could affect the safety of fellow passengers.