Remembering the Loss of Reba McEntire’s Band Members

Reba McEntire is familiar with the experience of grieving and loss. During a concert in 1991, the country music icon lost her tour manager and seven band members in an airplane disaster.

The famous persona and her group gave a performance at a private function in San Diego on March 16, 1991. At Brown Field Municipal Airport, two aircraft were prepared to take the band members to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for their next scheduled performance.

The band members and tour manager took off, leaving McEntire, her manager Narvel Blackstock from back then, and stylist Sandi Spika for the evening in San Diego.

In a depressing 2012 interview, McEntire related what transpired next to Oprah Winfrey. The first plane to take off crashed just ten miles east of the airport, while the second plane took off and reached its destination without incident.

“Everyone on board was killed when the plane’s wingtip struck a boulder on the edge of Otay Mountain,” McEntire said to Oprah. “Narvel went to our pilot and told him what had happened when we were notified.”

“I asked, ‘Are they OK?'” when Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was around two or three in the morning and reported that one of the planes had crashed. “I don’t believe so,” he answered. “But you’re not certain?” I enquired. “I don’t believe so,” he answered.

McEntire claimed that they were eager to find out the details of the disaster.

She paused as tears welled up and said, “Narvel was going room to room with a phone, ringing.” She apologized and said, “I don’t think it ever stops hurting. It’s been 20 years.” However, I can see that room. Narvel is pacing in both directions.

McEntire turned down offers from friends like Vince Gill and Dolly Parton to continue the tour with their bands. Her following album, For My Broken Heart, was a tribute to the band members she had lost. It sold four million copies and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

McEntire honors the people who lost their lives that day every year on the anniversary of the tragedy. She celebrated the 2014 crash anniversary on Instagram. She described a remarkable trip she went to San Diego with her admirers on social media in 2016, the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

“Today marks the 25th anniversary of the plane accident,” wrote McEntire. “I went back to San Diego in November of last year and took a helicopter to the scene of the accident. They must be aware of how much we are missing them. My sincere sympathies and best wishes are extended to all the friends and family.

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