September 10, 2001 08:18 AM

The twin-engine plane that crashed and killed singer Aaliyah and eight others in the Bahamas on Aug. 25 was significantly overloaded and out of balance, according to a preliminary accident investigation. A report from Bahamian investigators released on Saturday by the National Transportation Safety Board also found no sign of mechanical difficulty with the Cessna 402B, but noted that they had not yet received the aircraft’s log books. Even so, said the NTSB, the total weight of the luggage, fuel and the weight of the passengers “showed that the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded.” Preliminary calculations also showed that the plane was out of balance, with too much weight in the tail area. The Cessna 402B is certified to carry only six to eight people, including the pilot, the Cessna Aircraft Company has said. The charter aircraft with Aaliyah, 22, and the others onboard crashed shortly after take-off from Marsh Harbour Airport, killing the singer, seven members of her crew and the pilot. They were headed to Opa-Locka, Florida, after having completed a video shoot in the Bahamas.

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