New information has surfaced about the plane crash that took 22-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah’s life nearly 20 years ago.
According to NME, new reports claim that the “Rock the Boat” singer was “reluctant to board the flight” and “had taken sleeping pills” just hours before the fatal plane crash.
Kingsley Russell, whose family owned the taxi company that transported Aaliyah and her team to the airport in the Bahamas for her return flight to the United States, is opening up about what happened hours before the plane crash in August 2001.
At the time, Russell was 13-years-old and recalls Aaliyah refusing to get onto the plane when she saw it and returned back into the taxi after telling her team she had a headache and began falling asleep.
While the songstress was asleep, she was allegedly carried out of the taxi and into the plane despite not wanting to board the plane previously. Russell claims that Aaliyah was handed a sleeping pill prior and had drifted off into a deep sleep before being carried onto the plane.
Just hours later, the 22-year-old and her team of eight were killed 200 feet from the end of the runway shortly after take-off.
“The plane struggled to gain altitude, and it was later revealed that the small twin-engine Cessna was significantly over its allotted weight limit by several hundred pounds,” per NME.
Russell, who is now 33, has opened up for the first time in a new book, Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah, by music journalist Kathy Iandoli.
Recalling how the singer didn’t know she was being transferred out of the taxi, Russell claims in the new book, “They took her out of the van; she didn’t even know she was getting boarded on a plane. She went on the airplane asleep.”
“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,” Iandoli said to The Daily Beast. “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.”
Iandoli added: “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.”