A passenger who threw coins into the engine of his plane before a flight was ordered to pay a $17,200 fine to make up for the damage.
The passenger, 28-year-old Lu Chao, was flying for the first time in February 2019 onboard Lucky Air from Anqing Tianzhushan Airport in eastern China. As he was boarding the flight, he threw a few coins into the engine of the plane, making a wish for a good flight.
He appeared in court back in July but the ruling was only recently made public, according to The BBC.
At the time, grounds crew found two small coins near the engine and ordered the plane evacuated while they searched the engine for more. The flight was canceled and passengers were stranded as the airline arranged replacement flights. Some didn’t fly out until the next day.
"Regardless of size, any pieces of metal [that] fell into the engines would damage its turbine blades at high-speed rotation," Zhang Qihuai, a legal expert in China's aviation industry, told Beijing Youth Daily. "The shattered pieces could start a fire in the engine, and lead to oil pipe rupture and [the] engines to stop, endangering aviation safety.”
Lu was detained by the police for 10 days. He was charged with disturbing public order and was sued by the airline. The court ordered a 120,000 yuan fine to cover the damages.
Lu argued into court that the airline should have warned people not to throw coins at the plane — which may actually be a fair defense.
It turns out, throwing coins at an aircraft for good luck, an act that has been made illegal in China, happens somewhat often.
In 2017, two incidents occurred where a 76-year-old woman was arrested for also throwing coins into the engine of a Lucky Air flight and an 80-year-old woman was taken into custody for the exact same action.