The singer Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash on August 25, 2001. The plane was en route to Miami from the Bahamas, where Aaliyah and her crew had recently finished filming a music video. Aaliyah and seven other people, including the pilot, died instantly, while one other passenger died later on in the hospital. Aaliyah was only 22 years old at the time of her death.
The privately chartered plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Abaco Island in the Bahamas. The exact cause of the crash remains unknown. Initially, investigators attributed the crash to engine failure. However, before the flight, the pilot, Luis Morales III, expressed concerns that the weight of nine people and their recording equipment would overload the plane. Further investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the charter company, Blackhawk Airways International, had illegally allowed Morales to fly the plane, which was licensed under single-pilot authorization.
Morales's past also brought up questions during the investigation; he had recently been charged with a drug offense and sentenced to three years of probation, which he neglected to report to the FAA. It is possible that Blackhawk failed to adequately inspect the engines before chartering the plane or that Morales, who did not normally fly this plane, may not have known how to start the engines properly.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the primary cause of the crash was the plane being 700 pounds over its maximum weight limit. Pilot error was also determined to be a contributing factor in the crash, with an autopsy report revealing traces of alcohol and cocaine in the pilot's body before take-off. Aaliyah was set to return to the United States following completion of her music video, "Rock the Boat."