Pop Star Aaliyah Dead in Plane Crash

ByABC News
August 27, 2001, 12:28 AM

Aug. 27 -- U.S. investigators in the Bahamas began a probe to find the cause of the accident that killed R&B singer and actress Aaliyah and eight others en route to Miami on Saturday night. Engine failure is suspected.

Investigators are leaning toward engine failure as the cause of the accident, The New York Post is reporting that the Cessna's pilot 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 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 Cessna 402 crashed in perfect weather Saturday night shortly after takeoff in the Bahamas, where the 22-year-old singer/actress was shooting a music video. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive in the Bahamas today.

Multi-Platinum Artist Died Instantly

Investigators believe Aaliyah died instantly in the crash. One victim was found alive, but later died in a Miami hospital.

The other passengers killed in the crash were Scott Gallin, 41; Keith Wallace, 49, of Los Angeles; Douglas Kratz, 28, a representative for Virgin Records and Eric Foreman, 29, both of Hollywood, California; Gina Smith, 29, of New Jersey; andChristopher Maldonado, 32, of New York. The pilot, identified only as L. Marael, was also killed, and Anthony Dodd, 34, of Los Angeles, died in the hospital on Sunday.

Aaliyah, a multi-platinum selling artist, 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, 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.