Reba McEntire deeply appreciates the magnitude of loss and the depths of suffering.
1991 marked a turning point in history because it was the year the superstar of country music experienced an unfathomable tragedy. Tragically, an aircraft disaster during one of her performances claimed the lives of her trusted tour manager and seven beloved band members.
The heartbreaking tragedy happened on March 16, 1991, following a spellbinding performance by Reba McEntire and her band at a prestigious event in San Diego.
For their next concert, arrangements were made for the band members to take a flight from Brown Field Municipal Airport to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
As luck would have it, Reba, her then-husband and manager Narvel Blackstock, and her stylist Sandi Spika were left in San Diego for the night when the band and tour manager boarded the first plane.
Reba McEntire summoned the courage to describe what happened in a moving interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012. The second plane took off without a hitch and arrived at its destination safely.
Tragically, only ten miles east of the airport, the first plane carrying the dearly loved people Reba held dear crashed, irrevocably affecting the lives of those left behind.
Reba somberly revealed to Oprah that “the plane’s wing struck a boulder on the edge of Otay Mountain, taking the lives of everyone on board.” When we got the news, Narvel approached our pilot and told him what had happened.
Narvel returned to the hotel room where Reba was waiting for news late at night, about two or three in the morning. As Reba looked for explanations, the tragedy weighed hard on the atmosphere. “One of the planes crashed,” Narvel said.
Reba asked how their pals were doing and felt a glimmer of hope. “Are they alright?” She was disappointed when Narvel’s reply dashed her hopes. He said, “I don’t think so,” causing a cloud of doubt to shroud them both.