Reba McEntire Marks 29 Years Since Her Band Died in a Plane Crash: ‘I Know They’re All in Heaven Together’
Reba McEntire turned to social media on Monday (March 16) to remember her friends and bandmates who died in a plane crash 29 years ago, on March 16, 1991.
The superstar marks their passing every year, but it's particularly poignant this year, with the anniversary coming just days after McEntire's mother, Jacqueline, died on Saturday (March 14) after battling cancer.
"29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash," McEntire writes alongside a picture of her band. "The timing of Mama’s passing with that anniversary seems appropriate. I know they’re all in Heaven together and taking care of each other. Let’s keep finding ways to take care of each other down here on earth and never take one moment with our loved ones for granted."
McEntire and her band had performed a private show in San Diego on March 16, and there were two planes waiting to transport the band to Fort Wayne, Ind., to the next concert on their schedule. The band members and tour manager flew on ahead while McEntire, her then-husband and manager Narvel Blackstock and her stylist, Sandi Spika, opted to spend the night in San Diego.
The second plane carrying McEntire's band met with disaster ten miles east of the airport.
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"The tip of the wing of the airplane hit a rock on the side of Otay Mountain, and it killed everyone on the plane," McEntire tearfully recalled in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012. “When we were notified, Narvel went and met with our pilot, and he told us what had happened. And Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was — it was two or three o’clock in the morning — and he said one of the planes had crashed, and I said, 'Are they OK?' He said, 'I don’t think so.' I said, 'But you’re not sure?' He said, 'I don’t think so.'"
McEntire honors her band members each year on the anniversary of the tragedy. In 2014 she turned to Instagram to mark the crash anniversary, and in 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, she took a special trip to San Diego and shared it with fans online.
It's been an especially hard time for McEntire. She recently made the decision to postpone her upcoming tour in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and she and her family have also postponed her mother's funeral indefinitely due to the virus outbreak.
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