Officials Probe Crash That Killed Aaliyah

U.S. investigators in the Bahamas have begun a probe to find the cause of the plane crash that killed R&B singer and actress Aaliyah and eight others.

Investigators are leaning toward engine failure as the cause of Saturday night's accident. The New York Post reported that the pilot of the Cessna 402 and the singer's video crew got into a heated argument before takeoff over the weight of the equipment and passengers.

The pilot argued the Miami-bound plane was dangerously overloaded, but eventually gave in and took off, fellow pilot Lewis Key told the tabloid. But Key added that the pilot also had trouble getting one of his engines started — another suggestion that engine failure may have led to the tragedy.

The plane crashed in perfect weather shortly after takeoff in the Bahamas, where the 22-year-old Aaliyah had been shooting a music video. Aaliyah, the pilot, and all seven other people on board were killed.

Police: Engine 'Apparently Failed'

Bahamian investigators have searched through the wreckage for clues to the crash. Police Superintendent Basil Rahming told The Associated Press that one of the Cessna's engines "apparently failed."

The Cessna 402 is designed to handle a single-engine takeoff, according to ABCNEWS aviation expert John Nance. He said the situation requires the pilot to make an "instantaneous" response, with few options.

Nance says wealthy, high-profile passengers might sometimes bully pilots, yet that "rarely" results in an accident.

"So many musicians who have died in small aircraft," said Nance. "You would think that anybody in show business would be three times more sensitive."

Quincy Jones: 'I Am Absolutely Devastated'

Aaliyah, whose name means "highest, most exalted one," in Swahili, earned Grammy nominations for her songs "Try Again" and "Are You That Somebody." She made her acting debut last year with a starring role in the Jet Li film Romeo Must Die, and was slated to appear in the upcoming sequels to The Matrix.

She had recently finished shooting Queen of the Damned, based on the Anne Rice vampire novel, in which she played Queen Akasha.

"I think Aaliyah was the next Jennifer Lopez, the next Whitney Houston, the next Madonna, the next Janet Jackson," said Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine.

"She was a great dancer, she was a great singer and she had a great attitude and people liked working with her and people genuinely liked her."

Wilbekin said he watched her grow from a 15-year-old teen singer to a multi-platinum selling artist and actress.

In fact, before Brandy, Britney and Christina, Aaliyah caused quite a stir in the music world with her mixture of R&B and hip-hop. Her third album, Aaliyah, released this summer, marked a move from a punchy, pop influence to a more mature, introspective sound.

"[Aaliyah] was like one of my daughters, she was one of the sweetest girls in the world," Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer Quincy Jones told The Associated Press. "She vacationed with me and my family together in Fiji. I loved her and respected her and I am absolutely devastated."

Brooklyn Native Began Performing With Gladys Knight

Born Aaliyah Dana Haughton, the Brooklyn native moved to Detroit at 5, began singing at a local church, and soon found herself onstage in Las Vegas with Gladys Knight. Knight's ex-husband, Barry Hankerson, was Aaliyah's uncle.

She is survived by her mother, father and brother.

In a recent interview, the young singer reflected on her career. "What do I want people to say when I'm long gone? I want people to look at me as a full-on entertainer and a good person." ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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