It’s been two decades since R&B darling Aaliyah lost her life in a tragic plane accident, but it appears there are still details about that fateful day that are only just emerging.
According to a new book by author Kathy Iandoli, Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah, a source initially hestitant to come forward now claims Aaliyah was given a sleeping pill and carried onto the plane unconscious before the fatal crash in the Bahamas.
Kingsley Russell, who was with Aaliyah just before she was whisked away on the ill-fated flight, reportedly said, “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.”
Aaliyah had just wrapped up a video shoot for “Rock The Boat” and, as pointed out by the New York Post, the team was “eager” to get back to the United States.
But Aaliyah was an “anxious flyer” and reluctant to get on board after learning the plane was over its weight limit. The pilot had reportedly explained the aircraft would struggle to handle eight passengers (including Aaliyah’s 300-pound bodyguard), their bags and cameras.
The then 13-year-old Russell, whose family ran a taxi cab company on Abaco Islands, was in the car that drove Aaliyah and her team to the airport for their return flight to Miami. He says she grew more concerned when they arrived at the airport and discovered she’d be flying on a small plane.
After Aaliyah fell asleep in the cab with complaints of a headache, her team tried to sort out the travel situation and when they returned to the cab, Aaliyah continued protesting. Russell claims one of her team members then gave her a sleeping pill and carried the unconscious singer to the plane.
Shortly after takeoff, the small, two-engine Cessna failed to gain altitude and crashed about 200 feet from the end of the runway, killing everyone onboard. Making matters worse, the pilot of the aircraft reportedly had a fake license and was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the crash as noted in a 2002 toxicology report. Aaliyah was just 22 years old.
Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah is expected to arrive on August 17. Pre-orders are available here.