A plane that was expected to make an emergency landing at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia early Monday afternoon successfully landed at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.
Lambert spokesperson Jeff Lea said the Learjet 45 aircraft "landed without incident" at 1:45 p.m. and did not disrupt other air traffic at Lambert.
The eight occupants of the plane including the pilot were bussed off the runway by Airport Terminal Services and the plane was towed off the airfield to be examined, Lea said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft, which is registered to Aerometro LLC in Houston, Texas, departed from Wooster, Ohio, and was slated to land at the St. Louis Downtown Airport.
The plane's pilot reported the landing gears had malfunctioned. Cahokia airport's Emergency Management Director Mike Mavrogeorge said the pilot notified the airport the plane had a "nose gear problem."
In order to better analyze the situation, the aircraft flew by the control tower at the Cahokia airport. "We found his nose gear was down, but it was cocked to the left," Mavrogeorge said.
A slew of emergency personnel descended on the airport in Cahokia in preparation for a crash landing including four Medstar ambulances and an ARCH Helicopter, Mavrogeorge said. In addition to the airport fire department, the Sauget, Cahokia and Camp Jackson fire departments were on the scene.
Mavrogeorge said the pilot decided to "burn fuel for a while and circle the airport. If you know you are going to be making a crash landing, you want as little fuel as possible," he said. "We were ready and waiting."
After 45 minutes of flying around, the pilot decided to head to Lambert airport, according to Mavrogeorge.
All emergency crews at St. Louis Downtown Airport were instructed to stand down, and the pilot was successfully able to land the Learjet at Lambert.
"From a perspective of a pilot, he could have made that landing here no problem," Mavrogeorge said. "That pilot did a great job. It ended the way we wanted it to end up. It's always a good day when people can have an emergency and walk away safe."
The names of the pilot or seven passengers on board were not released. The FAA is investigating the incident.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.