Reba McEntire Remembers Band Members 30 Years After Tragic Plane Crash: ‘The Anniversaries Still Sting’
The country superstar lost seven of her band members and her tour manager on March 16, 1991, when the place that was carrying them from San Diego to Fort Wayne, Ind., crashed just ten miles east of the airport after taking off.
McEntire shared pictures of all of those who died in the crash on Tuesday, writing, "No matter how long ago a tragedy happened and no matter how much time goes by after losing people we love ... the anniversaries of losing them still sting and memories come rushing in."
"Praying for peace today along with all the families of Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Jim Hammon, Terry Jackson, Tony Saputo and Michael Thomas," she added.
McEntire tearfully recounted the events of that morning in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012. Her then-husband and manager, Narvel Blackstock, was the first to get the news in a telephone call.
"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 told Winfrey. "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.'"
"Narvel was going room to room with a phone and calling ..." she began, pausing as tears came to her eyes. "I’m sorry — it’s been 20 years, but it’s just like — I don't guess it ever quits hurting," she said. "But I can see that room. I can see Narvel walking back and forth."
It's become an annual tradition for McEntire to honor her band members each year on the anniversary of the crash. In 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, she made a trip to San Diego and shared it with fans online.
"Today is the 25th anniversary of the airplane crash," McEntire wrote at the time. "I went back to San Diego Nov of last year and took a helicopter up to the crash site. I feel in my heart that they know we still miss them so much. My love and prayers to all the families and friends."
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