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A helicopter pilot and an aviation student were unhurt after crashing Thursday, May 23, 2019 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia. Photo by David Carson,

CAHOKIA • A helicopter pilot and an aviation student escaped unharmed after their helicopter crashed Tuesday at St. Louis Downtown Airport. 

They were returning from a flight training session about 2:40 p.m when the helicopter crashed on the airport's secondary runway, said Patti Beck, a spokeswoman with Bi-State Development. Bi-State owns the airport.

The airport's secondary runway was closed after the crash. The primary runway remained open to air traffic.

Beck did not have more details. 

The helicopter had taken off from the airport shortly after 2 p.m. and flew about 25 miles over the Metro East, according to the online flight tracking site FlightAware. It was set to arrive at the airport at about 2:45 p.m. 

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to the scene to investigate the cause of the crash.

Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.