The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating an incident on Friday in which passengers on a United Express flight were diverted from Denver International Airport to the Colorado Springs Airport and spent nearly six hours on the tarmac before they were allowed to leave the aircraft.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette (http://tinyurl.com/qz5ytvw ), federal rules limit how long passengers can be kept on the tarmac, but there are exceptions

United Express Flight 4934, operated by Republic Airlines, was one of eight flights diverted from Denver International Airport to Colorado Springs because of weather. The flight left Kansas City at 5 a.m. and landed in Colorado Springs around 7:30 a.m. Passengers were later put on buses to DIA.

A spokesman for Republic did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com