Aaliyah ‘took sleeping pill and was carried unconscious onto plane’ before fatal crash
Aaliyah did not want to get on the plane that crashed and caused her death, and was carried onto it while she was unconscious after taking a sleeping pill, a new book has claimed.
In August 2001, the legendary singer died at the age of 22 in an aeroplane crash in the Bahamas. The tragedy killed all nine people on board, after the aircraft was overloaded.
The pilot was later found to have had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body, and was not qualified to fly the plane.
It was previously thought that Aaliyah had wanted to board the plane, but a Bahaman man who encountered the popstar just hours before her death has said differently.
Kingsley Russell, who was 13 at the time, worked with his family who ran a taxi and hospitality business in the Abaco Islands.
He worked with Aaliyah’s team as her baggage handler and claims that when she saw the plane, she refused to get on and went to sleep in the back of a taxi.
Russell alleges that Aaliyah’s team carried her to the plane while she was asleep, despite the pilot and baggage handlers initially saying there was too much cargo in the plane to fly.
‘They took her out of the van; she didn’t even know she was getting boarded on a plane,’ Russell is quoted as saying in the book Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah by by music journalist Kathy Iandoli. ‘She went on the airplane asleep.’
Russell alleged that, while Aaliyah slept, there were hours of arguments about whether the plane should fly, before the pilot finally agreed to make the trip.
The aircraft was airborne for less than a minute before crashing.
Iandoli told The Daily Beast: ’I remember when Aaliyah passed away, I was really upset.
‘The story kept saying that she was adamant about getting on the plane. I was almost upset with her. Why did you want to get on that plane so badly?
‘In learning that she did not want to get on the plane, for someone like myself and so many other people, I think that’s closure for us. It’s an unfortunate closure… but I needed to hear she didn’t want to get on that plane; I needed to know that. The person who I thought had the most common sense in the world had common sense to not get on the plane. The fact that she was so adamant, staying in the cab, refusing — these are things we never knew.
‘The only thing I’ve taken with me is that after 20 years, I can finally say that Aaliyah didn’t want to get on the plane. That makes me feel a little better, but not much. This didn’t have to happen. She should still be here, and I think that’s the saddest part about it. She deserved better.’
After the tragedy, Aaliyah’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the aircraft’s operator, Blackhawk International Airways. It was settled out of court.