Veteran Bahamian charter pilot Lewis Key told The Post he overheard a heated argument between the pilot and Aaliyah's video crew about the weight of the equipment loading the plane down. "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," Key said. Aaliyah was in the Bahamian Abaco Islands finishing a music video.
Another possible cause of the tragedy, Keys said, could have been engine failure. Several people who witnessed the crash said the plane lost an engine on takeoff.
One witness, George Thomas told The Post he saw the plane slowly climbing to about 50 feet when it veered to the left and dove nose-first into a swamp, bursting into flames. "It didn't look like anyone could survive that crash," Thomas said. "The nose was broken right off and the fuselage was crumpled and there was TV equipment and luggage scattered about."
Investigators today were wading through the smoldering swampland, cording off areas and removing luggage and equipment as well as searching for any clues to the cause of the crash. A team from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to join the search today.
The tragedy of Aaliyah's death has stunned her family and friends.
In a statement issued from Aaliyah's family, they are "devastated at the loss of their loving daughter and sister. Their hearts go out to the families who also lost their loved ones in this tragic accident."
Also traumatized is Aaliyah's latest love, Damon Dash, who would not comment on her death. However, sources say Aaliyah was the love of his life and he has not gotten out of bed since he heard the news.