An Illness Might Have Saved Reba McEntire From a Fatal Plane Crash
Reba McEntire and her team suffered an unimaginable loss on March 16, 1991. That was the day that a plane crash claimed the lives of seven members of the star's band, plus her tour manager. But it was only a small twist of fate — and a case of bronchitis — that kept the country superstar herself from boarding that plane.
Here's the scenario: On March 15, McEntire played a private show in the San Diego, Calif., area for a group of IBM executives. After the show, the team planned to fly from San Diego to Fort Wayne, Ind., for their next gig. But McEntire was still on the mend from a bout with bronchitis, and she elected to stay back in San Diego for a night with her then-husband, Narvel Blackstock, and stylist, Sandy Spika.
The rest of the crew left in two aircraft from a Southern San Diego airstrip at 1:45AM on March 16, but they never made it to Fort Wayne. The first of the two planes to take off crashed into an Otay Mountain peak just east of the airstrip, killing all 10 people on board. Those were McEntire's tour manager, crew and band members, plus the pilot and co-pilot operating the plane.
McEntire's illness might well have saved her life that night. If she had felt well enough to travel, there's a 50/50 chance she could have been on the plane that crashed. But there's one more country superstar who had a near-miss experience with the fatal crash, too.
One of the members of McEntire's team killed in the crash was a backup singer named Paula Kay Evans, who'd gotten a job touring with McEntire's band. The person she beat out for that position? A young soon-to-be star named Faith Hill.