How Did Aaliyah Die? Aaliyah was one of the most influential and successful singers of modern hip hop and R&B. Her sudden death in a plane crash at the age of 22 shocked fans around the world. Despite her short career, her influence on the music industry was immeasurable. Her nicknames Princess of R&B and Queen of Urban Pop are a nod to her work in the shaping of contemporary R&B music.
How Did Aaliyah Die?
On August 25, 2001, a charter plane that had attempted to take off from the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas failed, and Aaliyah perished in the crash. The artist was in the nation to record a music video and was scheduled to fly back to Miami that evening.
The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, and it was later discovered that it had been severely overloaded with goods. The collision claimed the lives of all nine occupants, including the pilot and the musician. She had just turned 22.
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After a thorough investigation, Blackhawk International Airways was charged and the airline’s and the pilot’s lies and coverups were exposed.
August 25, 2001
Aaliyah and her entourage went to the Bahamas in August 2001 to shoot the music video for her single Rock The Boat. Filming was finished earlier than expected, so they opted to charter a plane to Miami that afternoon instead of taking the journey they had planned to take on August 26.
Along with her hairstylist, makeup artist, security guard, and several friends and team members from her record label, the singer was escorted. They were scheduled to leave at 4:30 p.m., but the jet arrived at the airport about two hours late.
She experienced regular anxiety when boarding airplanes, but she felt particularly uneasy on the little charter jet. Her team tried to convince her that the jet was secure, but she disputed with them. The singer adamantly refused to board the plane and went back to the airport. She was taken into the plane after falling asleep when one of the other passengers was able to give her a tranquilizer.
Another pilot stated that one of the engines had difficulty starting before the plane took off. Only 200 feet off the runway and between 60 and 100 feet in the air, they crashed practically soon after takeoff. The aircraft made a fast turn and crashed into a wetland.
The crash was brutal, throwing some of the seats from the craft and scattering pieces of the plane. Of the nine people on board, eight, including the musician, died on impact. The only survivor was Scott Gallin, her bodyguard. He survived until paramedics arrived, asking if the other passengers were okay. He died minutes later.
An investigation was started after the accident to determine what went wrong with the plane. It was discovered that the pilot, Luis Morales, and Blackhawk International Airways had broken several safety laws and regulations.
The airline had received numerous citations for disobeying safety rules during the preceding few years. The pilot was not certified to operate the charter aircraft, the investigators noted.
The plane’s overloading problem, however, was of the utmost importance. It carried eight passengers when only seven were permitted, and it had around 900 pounds more weight than was allowed.
Due to the overloading, the plane’s center of gravity was drastically pushed toward the back of the airplane.
Lewis Key, a different pilot, stated that Morales attempted to inform the passengers that the aircraft was crowded. They had waited for the delayed plane for about two hours, so they were already impatient. Morales was persuaded to permit their flight by the passengers, who insisted that they had to return to Miami that evening.
The pilot’s and passengers’ bodies were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, following the disaster. Official causes of death for the singer were ruled to be a mix of brain injuries, burns, and extreme shock there, according to coroners.
A look into Morales’ past was another important aspect of the study. Only two days after the incident, reports revealed that the plane had been overloaded with both passengers and cargo to the maximum degree permitted. Researchers were also interested in why the pilot had overlooked it and whether any of his other activities had contributed to the fatal crash.
His body revealed alcohol and cocaine residues, according to a toxicology study, proving that he had recently used both substances. He had been given a three-year probationary term for petty theft, stealing aviation parts, and cocaine possession just 12 days before to the deadly plane crash.
According to FAA standards, many times such a sentence would have resulted in the loss of a pilot’s license. Morales decided instead to take a plea bargain. He requested that the court not inform his employer of his legal problems in exchange for providing frequent pay stubs as proof that he was still employed.
The judge concurred, therefore Blackhawk International Airways was unaware of the pilot’s probation. He was further able to avoid detection because to a number of loopholes; he wasn’t required to take a workplace drug test until January of the following year, and FAA regulations didn’t compel him to report the specifics of his punishment for 60 days.
He had only been employed by Blackhawk International Airways a few days before to August 25, which further complicated matters. However, airline employees weren’t entirely blameless either.
In reality, further examinations revealed that the pilot lacked the necessary authorizations to operate the two-engine Cessna 402. Such a small plane could only be flown by a select group of pre-approved pilots, and Morales’ name was not on that list. It appeared that he had been using it without a permit from the proper authorities.
The complexity of the inquiry grew further. He may have fabricated his FAA credentials in order to land a job with Blackhawk International Airways, claiming hundreds of flight hours that never took place. Eventually, it was determined that he had no experience flying.
He had gotten his pilot license in 2000 but was rejected from a job at Tropic Air for his lack of commercial flight experience. Earlier in 2001, he had gotten a job at Golden Airlines but had been terminated when he didn’t appear for work.
Response And Aftermath
Families of the victims and representatives in Nassau had to go through a lot of trouble to get their loved one’s remains to Florida. Finally, they were able to locate them, and a week later, the musician’s burial was held.
Many people, including both her close friends and acquaintances from work, expressed shock and grief upon hearing of her departure. Her youthful age, artistic talent, and passing were all stunning factors.
Attorneys for her public relations agency and the families of the victims filed litigation against Blackhawk International Airways, which persisted at least until 2004. Most of the cases were resolved outside of court for sums that were not made public.
After the singer’s death, her record label issued several posthumous releases. They were not initially expected to air the video for Rock The Boat, which she had filmed in the days before her passing. Her posthumous albums were extremely successful, even winning two American Music Awards in 2002.
Aaliyah was laid to rest at a private funeral on August 31, 2001. Though her funeral mass was attended only by family and personal friends, fans lined the streets to mourn her as her body was transported to the church. It was estimated that roughly 800 people appeared to pay their respects.