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Aaliyah Plane Was Overloaded

A twin-engine plane was significantly overloaded when it crashed in the Bahamas last month, killing singer Aaliyah and eight others on board, according to a preliminary report. The aircraft load was also out of balance, the report said.

The report from Bahamian investigators released by the National Transportation Safety Board also found no sign of mechanical difficulty with the Cessna 402B, but noted that they had not yet received the aircraft's log books.

"The complete maintenance history of the airplane is unknown," the report from Bahamian civil aviation authorities showed.

Sources had previously indicated that excess weight may have played an important role in the crash that killed Aaliyah Haughton, the 22-year-old Grammy nominated R&B vocalist, on Aug. 25.

The twin-engine charter aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Marsh Harbour Airport, killing the singer, seven members of her crew and the pilot. They were headed to Opa-Locka, Florida.

Bahamian authorities, who are being assisted by the NTSB, found that the plane with baggage, fuel and passengers was substantially overweight. Preliminary calculations also showed that the plane was out of balance with too much weight in the tail area.

"The total weight of the luggage, fuel on board at the time of the accident, plus the weight of the passengers showed that the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded," said the National Transportation Safety Board report.

Bahamian officials, who are overseeing the investigation, are deciding whether to ask U.S. authorities to subpoena aircraft owner Gilbert Chacon to obtain the maintenance records, the pilot's training records and to learn the details of how the charter was arranged.

Chacon is the owner of Blackhawk International Airways, a charter airline.

Neither Blackhawk nor Skystream, the plane's registered owner, had a permit to operate commercial charter flights in the Bahamas, said a Bahamian investigator. Both companies are based near Miami.

The report said that Chacon "has only communicated to investigators through his attorney and has not produced the aircraft engine logbooks," and noted that "the complete maintenance history of the airplane is unknown."

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