Dangerous coin tossers still a problem for Chinese airlines

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April 23, 2019
coins engines
Staff check an aircraft engine after a 2017 incident that prompted international headlines. Photo: facebook/China People's Daily.

Superstition can be a powerful thing and Chinese airlines are struggling to wipe out the practice of tossing coins at aircraft to guarantee a safe trip.

The latest incident involved a woman detained for throwing six coins at a China Southern plane set to fly from Nanning to Bangkok on Saturday.

The South China Morning Post reported the first-time flier threw the coins to pray for blessings and delayed the flight for 78 minutes while they were located.

READ: Cathay Buys low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express.

“Please don’t be superstitious,’’ the newspaper quoted China Southern as saying on Weibo. “Abide by aviation safety regulations and don’t throw things.”

The incident was the fifth this year and The Post said there had been numerous incidents since a case in 2017 that sparked international headlines when an 80-year-old  woman threw a handful of change into an aircraft engine.

The woman threw the nine coins into the engine of a China Southern flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou and delayed it for five hours while staff extracted the money and examined the engine.

Even a single coin can damage an engine and Chinese authorities have toughened their stance since letting off the old lady with a stern lecture in 2017.

The superstitious practice has also attracted a wave of criticism on social media but is proving hard to overcome.

Other instances this year include a 66-year old woman who was earlier this month sentenced to 10 days detention for throwing coins into an engine for good luck as she boarded a Tianjin Airlines flight between two Mongolian cities.

The plane was delayed for more than two hours as staff searched for the coins and moved passengers to another aircraft.

Also in April, a man was detained by airport security after throwing three coins near a Hainan Airlines plane at the suggestion of his mother-in-law and delaying it for 30 minutes. He was detained by police for 10 days.

Shenzhen Airlines in March settled a lawsuit against and a man who threw two coins at a plane engine in 2017. It cost the man 50,000 yuan ($US7452).