Reba McEntire understands the pain of losing loved ones very deeply. In 1991, something very tragic happened that changed her life. During one of her concerts, a terrible plane crash occurred, and it took the lives of her tour manager and seven band members whom she cherished.
This heartbreaking event happened on March 16, 1991, after Reba and her band had given an amazing performance in San Diego. The plan was for the band to fly from Brown Field Municipal Airport to Fort Wayne, Indiana for their next concert.
However, by luck, Reba, her husband and manager at the time, Narvel Blackstock, and her stylist Sandi Spika didn’t board the first plane; they stayed in San Diego for the night. The rest of the band and the tour manager got on the first plane.
The second plane took off without any problems and safely reached its destination. Tragically, just ten miles east of the airport, the first plane carrying the people Reba cared about crashed, changing the lives of those who were left behind.
In a 2012 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Reba bravely talked about what happened. She said, “The plane’s wing hit a boulder on the edge of Otay Mountain, and everyone on board lost their lives.” When they received the news, Narvel talked to their pilot and explained what had occurred.
Narvel returned to the hotel room where Reba was waiting for news very late at night, around two or three in the morning. As they tried to make sense of what happened, the sadness was overwhelming. Narvel told Reba, “One of the planes crashed.”
Reba asked about the well-being of their friends and felt a glimmer of hope. “Are they okay?” When Narvel’s response dashed her hopes, he said, “I don’t think so,” casting doubt over both of them.
Reba shared how they were eager to learn all the details of what had happened to their loved ones. Her voice shook with real emotion as she said, “Narvel went from one room to another, holding a phone, desperately searching for answers.” She also apologized, saying, “It’s been 20 years, but the sorrow never really goes away. But I can still picture that situation. Narvel was pacing endlessly, consumed by grief.”
Reba McEntire found comfort in the unwavering support of close friends like Vince Gill and Dolly Parton during this difficult time. These kind-hearted friends offered their bands the chance to finish the tour after the tragedy, but Reba politely declined their offers.
Instead, she started a personal journey of healing and poured her heart and soul into her next album, “For My Broken Heart.” This record was a heartfelt tribute to the band members she had lost, showing her enduring love for them and honoring their memory.
Interestingly, “For My Broken Heart” achieved great success, debuting at number one on the respected Billboard Top Country Albums chart and selling an amazing four million copies.
Reba McEntire continues to remember those who passed away on the anniversary of the tragic incident every year. She uses social media to ensure their memory lives on. In 2014, she created a touching memorial on Instagram to commemorate the anniversary of the crash.
Then, in 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, Reba made a meaningful journey to San Diego, a city that held a special place in her heart. She shared this significant journey with her devoted followers on various social media platforms, giving them a glimpse into her healing process.
Reba herself wrote a heartfelt message in which she said, “Today marks the 25th anniversary of the plane crash. I returned to San Diego in November and took a helicopter to the site of the tragic crash. I was overwhelmed by the strong feeling that those who have passed away know how much we miss them. My condolences and prayers go out to all the families and friends affected by this tragedy.”