Fourteen years after, Aliyah lives on..... - CVIEW NEWS

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Fourteen years after, Aliyah lives on.....

On August 25, 2001, at 6:51 p.m. (EDT), Aaliyah and the members of the record company boarded a twin-engine Cessna 402B (registration N8097W) at the Marsh Harbour Airport in Abaco Islands, The Bahamas, to travel to the Opa-locka Airport in Florida, after they completed filming the music video for "Rock the Boat".[6] They had a flight scheduled the following day, but with filming finishing early, Aaliyah and her entourage were eager to return to the United States and made the decision to leave immediately. The designated aircraft was smaller than the aircraft on which they had originally arrived, but the whole party and all of the equipment were accommodated on board.[7] The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, about 200 feet (60 m) from the runway.[6]
Aaliyah and all of the eight others on board—pilot Luis Morales III, hair stylist Eric Forman, Anthony Dodd, security guard Scott Gallin, family friend Keith Wallace, make-up artist Christopher Maldonado, and Blackground Records employees Douglas Kratz and Gina Smith—were killed.[8] Gallin survived the initial impact and spent his last moments worrying about Aaliyah's condition, according to paramedics.[9] The aircraft was identified as being owned by Florida-based company Skystream by Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Atlanta. Initial reports of the crash identified Luis Morales as "L Marael".[10]
The passengers grew impatient since the Cessna was supposed to arrive at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) but did not until 6:15 p.m. (EDT)[2] and it was reported that the passengers argued with Morales before the crash. Charter pilot Lewis Key claimed to have overheard the argument, adding that Morales warned the passengers there was too much weight for a "safe flight". Keys further stated: "He tried to convince them the plane was overloaded, but they insisted they had chartered the plane and they had to be in Miami Saturday night."[11] Further reports by Keys indicated Morales gave in to the passengers and that he had trouble getting one of the engines started.[12]
Keys also expressed the possibility that engine failure could have caused the crash along with the overloading of the aircraft, recalling others who saw the aircraft having reported seeing it suffer an engine failure at takeoff. One witness believed none of the passengers nor the pilot could have survived the crash, based on the intensity of the crash and the pieces of equipment scattered about. He also recalled the conditions of the bodies. "It was an awful sight. Some bodies were so badly disfigured, you couldn't identify them. And two guys were alive — one screaming and screaming for help. He was horribly burned all over."[11]
Aaliyah had thoughts a month before her death that something bad was about to happen to her. "Someone's following me and I don't know why. I'm scared. Then suddenly I lift off. Far away. As if I'm swimming in the air. Nobody can reach me. Nobody can touch me".[13] It is posited that this was a premonition in Aaliyah's dreams of what was about to happen.[14]
The New York Post printed the last photograph taken of Aaliyah before the crash,[15] that of her and a fan, Alvin Lightdouin, who wanted a picture as a souvenir. Aaliyah spoke with Lightdouin for 15 minutes and she gave him a hug as well. Lightdouin praised her for a recent donation she had made to charity and Aaliyah explained "God blessed me with money and now it's time to give back."[9][16] A 25-year-old charter pilot who witnessed the crash saw the Cessna go down as he was working on some machinery "about half a mile" away. He recalled the aircraft being only "60 to 100 feet" off the ground before it crashed. He went to get a firetruck and was stunned by what he saw upon arriving at the crash site. "I've seen crashes before but that was probably one of the worst ones," he said. "It was pretty devastating. The aircraft was broken into pieces and some of the seats were ejected from the aircraft."[17]

According to findings from an inquest conducted by the coroner's office in The Bahamas, Aaliyah suffered from "severe burns and a blow to the head", in addition to severe shock and a weak heart.[18] The coroner theorized that she went into such a state of shock that even if she had survived the crash, her recovery would have been nearly impossible.[19] The bodies were taken to the morgue at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, where they were kept for relatives to help identify them. Some of the bodies were badly burned in the crash.[20]
As the subsequent investigation determined, when the aircraft attempted to depart, it was over its maximum takeoff weight by 700 pounds (320 kg) and was carrying one excess passenger, according to its certification.[21] The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report stated that "the airplane was seen lifting off the runway, and then nose down, impacting in a marsh on the south side of the departure end of runway 27 and then exploding in flames."[22] It indicated that the pilot was not approved to fly the aircraft. Morales falsely obtained his FAA license by showing hundreds of hours never flown, and he may also have falsified how many hours he had flown in order to get a job with his employer, Blackhawk International Airways.[23] Additionally, an autopsy performed on Morales revealed traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system.[24]

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