The pilot of the aircraft which crashed at the weekend killing R&B star AALIYAH and all seven other passengers was convicted on a crack cocaine rap less than a fortnight ago and was not authorised to fly the plane.
Luis Morales pleaded no contest to possession of the drug in a Miami court on August 13. He had been stopped in Pompano Beach in Miami on July 7 after running through a stop sign. While officers were issuing him a ticket for the traffic offence, they spotted a vial of crack on the passenger seat.
According to The New York Post, it was the second time in several months he had been arrested. In November, he was arrested for theft and possession of stolen goods after trying to sell stolen aircraft parts. During the August court appearance he faced both drug and theft charges, pleading no contest to both. He received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered by the court to undergo regular drug testing as part of the probation.
As a result of the plea, Morales’ pilot licence should have been revoked under Federal Aviation Administration rules. MTV reports that while the license hadn’t been revoked yet, he was not authorised to fly the ‘plane, which was operated by Blackhawk International Airways.
Despite all this, Morales flying ability has never been called into question. He was an “exceptionally good pilot”, his flying instructor Steve Daun said.
The ill-fated Cessna 402 crashed almost immediately after take-off on Saturday (August 25) on a short hop from the Bahaman island of Abaco over to Miami. It has been reported that Morales had warned Aaliyahand her crew that they were bringing so much heavy video equipment onto the plane that it would pose a danger. But after an argument, he is said to have given in.
Investigators in the Bahamas are still attempting to establish exactly what led to the crash.