The pilot of the small plane that crashed in the Bahamas last August and killed Aaliyah and everyone aboard had cocaine in his urine and alcohol in his blood, according to the results of a toxicology test announced yesterday by the Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation, the Associated Press reports. The news adds to a long list of troubling stories implying that neither the pilot nor the plane were fit to fly, leading to lawsuits filed by the singer’s family and the survivors of other passengers on the doomed flight.
It’s not clear how the drugs found in the system of 30-year-old Luis Antonio Morales affected his ability to pilot the plane. Earlier reports had noted that Morales had not been authorized to fly a twin-engine Cessna 402-B, that he had been cited for previous safety violations, and that he had been sentenced in Florida to three years of probation on charges of crack cocaine possession 12 days before the crash.
Bahamian authorities issued a preliminary report months ago that suggested that overloading may have caused the small plane to crash shortly after takeoff. Aaliyah and seven other passengers were returning from a video shoot, and the plane was reportedly loaded with enough video gear and people to surpass the plane’s weight limit by 700 pounds. Yesterday’s report also suggested that the plane’s fuel pump may not have been wired and maintained properly. Moreover, the plane’s operator, Blackhawk International Airways, didn’t have a permit to fly a charter service in the Bahamas.
In May, Aaliyah’s parents sued Blackhawk, Virgin Records, and the video production companies behind the shoot, claiming that their negligence and recklessness was behind the crash that killed their 22-year-old daughter. Four similar suits have been filed by the survivors of other passengers.