A China Southern Flight 380 was delayed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Tuesday after an elderly woman threw coins into the engine for luck.

The passenger on the Chinese flight threw coins into a plane engine in an apparent attempt to bring about good luck.

The 80-year-old passenger reportedly made the offering to the China Southern aircraft’s huge engine whilst boarding on Tuesday.

Flight Org tweeted pictures which appeared to be taken by crew members, showing the coins and engineers assessing the possible damage.

She later admitted to police she had thrown the coins “as she prayed for safety”.

Of the nine coins thrown just one hit its intended target – nonetheless enough to force the evacuation of 150 passengers for several hours.

The woman, who was travelling with family, was questioned by officers at Shanghai airport, local media reported.

“After an investigation the involved passenger, surnamed Qiu, said she threw the coins to pray for safety. According to Qiu’s neighbour, Qiu believes in Buddhism,” the police said, according to a BBC translation.

In the end the flight was cleared to continue its journey some five hours later.