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Monday, July 10, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Flight with congressman aboard diverted because of nicked paint

Alaska Airlines Flight 4 from Seattle to Washington, D.C., with Rep. Dave Reichert on board made an unscheduled stop in Denver on Monday because of a nick in its paint, an airline spokeswoman said.

The airline learned of the 1-inch chip after the plane left Seattle and diverted it to Denver as a safety precaution, said Amanda Tobin Bielawski, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman.

The Boeing 737-800 with 160 passengers on board landed in Denver at 12:23 p.m. Seattle time and resumed its flight to Washington after being checked.

"There's no damage to the aircraft. We will paint over that area with new paint in the next couple of months," Bielawski said.

She said it was not immediately known what caused the chip near the rear door of the aircraft. It was noticed by a catering crew.

"There was no aircraft ground damage, no impact with anything in the aircraft this morning," she said.

She called the damage cosmetic, but said the airline would check that its reporting procedures were followed.

Reichert was expected to miss dinner and two votes in the House because of the unscheduled stop, said press secretary Kimberly Candena.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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