U.S. singer and actress Aaliyah was killed along with seven other people Saturday when a small Cessna passenger plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after taking off from an island in the Bahamas bound for Miami, police said early Sunday.
Superintendent Basil Rahming of Grand Bahama police department named the 22-year-old star as one of the eight people, all U.S. residents, killed in the crash at the small airport at Marsh Harbour, the main town in the Abaco islands.
The singer, whose full name was Aaliyah Haughton, was returning to the United States after completing filming of a music video in the Abaco islands, which are about 170 miles (270 km) east of south Florida.
R&B sensation Aaliyah sold a million copies of her debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” in 1994 and more recently “Try Again” earned her a Grammy nomination for best female R&B vocalist. One of her latest projects was to have been an appearance in a sequel to the cult movie “The Matrix.”
Only one person survived the Bahamas crash, a man who was critically injured and was due to be flown in the early hours of Sunday to Miami by air ambulance.
Rahming told Reuters the twin-engined propeller plane apparently suffered engine failure on take-off and crashed into bushes about 200 feet (60 meters) from the end of the runway, bursting into flames. The plane was headed for Opa-Locka, an airport on the outskirts of Miami, when it crashed.
KILLED ON IMPACT
Rahming said that six people, including Aaliyah, were killed on impact, while two others died soon after, one at a clinic in Marsh Harbour and one while being airlifted to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.
The plane was operated by a U.S. company, Blackhawk International, Rahming said. The Bahamas is a winding chain of some 700 islands that stretch some 600 miles (960 km) from west of Florida to just north of Haiti.
Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn but moved to Detroit when she was five. More recently she has lived in New York.
She began performing at an early age, and by the time she was 11, she was singing on stage in Las Vegas with the legendary Gladys Knight troupe.
After her teenage album success in 1994, Aaliyah embarked on a tour which took her to Europe, Japan and South Africa.
“One in a Million,” released in 1996, pioneered a new R&B sound which tended toward computer-generated backing tracks instead of live instrumentation.
Her film debut came opposite Chinese martial arts legend Jet Li in the hip and violent “Romeo Must Die.”