A small plane crash in Tennessee went undiscovered by airport authorities for hours after it strayed hundreds of miles from its flight path, but the biggest question remaining is why the deceased pilot named Taylor Swift as his next of kin.Though the crash occurred on October 29, authorities have just recently discovered that 45-year-old Canadian pilot Michael Callan listed the Red singer as next of kin when he registered with the flying club in Canada.
On November 20, The Tennessean reported that the Federal Aviation Administration learned of the news and alerted Swift. Her publicist, Paula Erickson, responded to questions with an email statement: “The first we heard of this was when the appropriate authorities contacted Taylor’s management about the crash. Taylor does not know this person.” So if the pilot didn't know Swift, but listed her anyway, what does that mean for the singer?
In the United States, next of kin are a person's closest living relatives. It's different than an emergency contact where you can list a friend to get called when you need to be picked up after a drowsy dentist session. Next of kin are supposed to be related to you in some way, through blood, or in some cases, guardianship. The United Kingdom allows people to name anyone as their next of kin provided the other person agrees. Swift fits neither of these profiles as she is not related to the pilot and never agreed to be his next of kin. Canadian law mandates that if a person has a will, it "can be organized in any way, to the exclusion of anyone, provided that adequate provision is made for the married spouse and dependents."
The New York Post reported that Callan was single and has no children, so if he has a will it will be carried out unobstructed. But this doesn't necessarily mean that next-of-kin Swift will be benefiting from Callan's inheritance. If he doesn't have a will, as can be the case when people die unexpectedly at a fairly young age, the inheritance will go to his parents, or his siblings if his parents aren't still alive.
David Gillies, president of the Canadian flying club Callan belonged to, was contacted by Callan's two sisters who asked Gillies not to speak to media about their brother's death. Gilles said of the sisters that they “are his next of kin" and will likely receive anything Callan has left behind. So what was the point of Callan naming Swift as his next of kin? Perhaps he does have a will and left his money and belongings to the singer, or perhaps they are more connected than she realizes.
This strange next-of-kin occurrence takes a turn for the creepy upon learning that Nashville, the city Swift has called home since she moved there at age 14 to start her music career, was the same city that Callan mysteriously crashed in. The Tennessean states: "Authorities aren’t sure how Michael Callan flew undetected over an international border, why he turned his transponder off and what caused him to circle the Nashville airport for as long as 2½ hours before attempting to land." The article goes on to say that nearly everything the pilot did mystified airport authorities. Though not certified to operate solely from instrument readings, Callan made no effort to reach anyone at the Nashville airport tower. He was also flying at night during heavy fog. "Even if Callan wasn’t familiar with the Nashville airport’s frequencies, he could have used a universal frequency to make contact," said Bruce Landsberg, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
It's possible that none of these mysteries might ever get cleared up, and whatever the reason Michael Callan named Swift his next of kin, it's unlikely anything will change for the singer who certainly doesn't need his inheritance and is busy with her own ever-growing career.