Investigators to look at luggage weight in Aaliyah crash
ABACO, Bahamas (CNN) -- Bahamian aviation authorities said Monday that investigators will "look into" reports that the plane carrying singer Aaliyah and eight others was overloaded with luggage. The small plane crashed Saturday, killing all on board.
"I can say because that's a rumor now at this stage, we have requested our people take a look at that," Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority director Cyril Saunders said in Nassau.
He stressed that no cause has yet been determined for the crash.
Meanwhile, officials from the United States flew to the Bahamas to assist authorities in determining what caused the plane to crash. The U.S. team consists of representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Co. and Continental Motors Engine Manufacturer.
Leland Russell, Abaco's assistant superintendent of police, told CNN that police had gathered most of the luggage from the aircraft and plan on weighing it. He said investigators will consider all possibilities for the crash.
"We will go into the investigation with an open mind," Russell said.
The Cessna plane was leaving Marsh Harbour airport about 6:50 p.m. Saturday headed for the Miami area when it crashed shortly after takeoff and was engulfed in flames, killing all nine people aboard, according to Abaco police. All were U.S. citizens.
Baggage handlers reported the plane was overloaded with suitcases, according to Gloria Knowles, who works for Abaco Air Ltd. at Marsh Harbour airport. She said the handlers and the plane's pilot had complained about the heavy load, but the passengers insisted on taking everything with them.
NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said the Bahamas government requested assistance from the United States, which is "not uncommon" when a U.S.-manufactured aircraft is involved.
The victims were:
-- L. Marael, pilot (age unknown)
-- Aaliyah Haughton, 22, White Plains, New York
-- Anthony Dodd, 34, Los Angeles, California
-- Eric Foreman, 29, Hollywood, California
-- Scott Gallin, 41, Pompano Beach, Florida
-- Keith Wallace, 49, Los Angeles, California
-- Gina Smith, 29, New Jersey
-- Douglas Kratz, 28, Hollywood, California (Virgin Records representative)
-- Christopher Maldonada, 32, New York
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