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Learjet passengers walk off aircraft in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Eight passengers and a pilot safely walked off a small aircraft Monday afternoon at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport after the pilot reported landing gear troubles and emergency personnel and vehicles gathered at two area airports in case of a crash.

The plane's front landing gear was bent when it touched down. It had circled the airports several times to burn off fuel before safely landing, airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said.

The passengers were shuttled away shortly after the landing.

"Everybody was happy to see the bus and to get off the plane," Hamm-Niebruegge said.

Officials said no injuries were reported.

The business-class Learjet 45 was inbound from Wooster, Ohio, to St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Ill., when it reported trouble. Emergency crews awaited its arrival both at Cahokia and St. Louis, where it was eventually diverted to the airport's longest runway

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said the aircraft landed "without incident" at 1:32 p.m. The FAA said the aircraft did not suffer a nose-gear collapse. The pilot gently steered the plane off the runway under its own power a short time after the landing.

FAA officials were en route to investigate, Hamm-Niebruegge said.

The plane was diverted to St. Louis because that airport is better prepared for an emergency landing, Hamm-Niebruegge said. Cahokia is 5 miles south of St. Louis.

The plane is registered to Aerometro LLC of Houston, Texas.

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