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Lawmakers hold in-flight service after plane to Dingell funeral forced to turn back to DC

The military aircraft with dozens of members aboard encountered bad weather and was unable to land in Michigan.

A military plane carrying members of Congress to House veteran John Dingell's funeral in Michigan has been turned back to Washington on Tuesday because of bad weather.

Missouri Rep. Billy Long tweeted that the delegation held an impromptu service at 30,000 feet for Dingell, led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. Dingell, who died Thursday, was 92.

"We feel very sad," Pelosi said. "We had nearly 60 members going to the service for our colleague, Chairman John Dingell, but weather prevented us from landing and we had to accept the pilot's decision about that."

Long and two congressional aides say the plane had been delayed from taking off and "circled there for an hour waiting for the temperature to rise one degree." He says the weather didn't change, and the delegation was now back at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

"We had a brief little service on the plane, impromptu," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. "We had about 30 of us and we all held hands and John (Lewis) said a few words, and I said a few words, and the Speaker said a few words. We'll be back in the Capitol to welcome the body when it comes later this afternoon."

Dingell's funeral mass went on as planned in Dearborn. His casket is scheduled to arrive in Washington later Tuesday and be driven by the U.S. Capitol building, where he represented Michigan in the House for 59 years. He retired in 2014.

A service is scheduled Thursday in Washington. Dingell's widow, Rep. Debbie Dingell, serves in his former House seat.