Flight has tough time reaching DIA

YVRA provides pit stop

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— More than 100 airline passengers bound for Denver from Boise, Idaho, made an unexpected stop at Yampa Valley Regional Airport this week not to mention a second unplanned stop in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The United Airlines Boeing 737 left Boise at 9:43 a.m. Tuesday, four minutes ahead of schedule, according to United spokeswoman Lize Meagher. The plane was carrying 103 passengers. The pilots learned en route of severe thunderstorms over Denver, and as the holding patterns over Denver International Airport became full, they were instructed by Denver Center to land at YVRA.

Airport Manager Jim Parker said ground crews in Hayden had about five minutes notice that the aircraft was inbound, and it touched down at 11:11 a.m.

Parker said ground crews at YVRA were uncertain whether or not the plane had a mechanical problem as it approached the airport, and airport rescue and fire trucks were standing by when it landed without incident.

The passengers remained on the ground in Hayden for more than 2.5 hours, Meagher said, and finally took off at 1:53 p.m. Before they could approach DIA, the thunderstorms renewed their intensity and the plane was ultimately diverted to Cheyenne.

It touched down there at 3:03 p.m. and remained on the ground for almost another two hours before taking off at 4:54 p.m., finally landing in Denver at 5:28 p.m., five hours behind its scheduled arrival.

Diversions of commercial flights to YVRA are not common, but not unheard of either. The airport near Hayden received seven unscheduled flights Feb. 23, when DIA was enshrouded in icy fog.

Among those seven flights were two 737s and five commuter aircraft.

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