On March 16, 1991, seven members of Reba McEntire's band and her tour manager Jim Hammon were killed near San Diego, California, after their plane crashed into the side of a mountain. On Monday, McEntire remembered those killed in a social media post, sharing a photo of her late friends on Instagram.
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"29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash," she wrote. "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's mother, Jacqueline Smith, died from cancer at age 93 on Saturday, March 14. After her passing, McEntire announced that the family has decided to "indefinitely postpone" Smith's funeral and burial due to the coronavirus.
On March 15, 1991, McEntire had played a private show for IBM executives in San Diego, after which the band was scheduled to play back-to-back shows in Indiana. McEntire, her then-husband Narvel Blackstock and her stylist Sandy Spika decided to spend the night in California because McEntire was suffering from bronchitis, but the rest of the band was scheduled to leave on two jets. The first plane that left was the one that crashed.
Hammon, keyboardist and bandleader Kirk Cappello, fellow keyboardist Joey Cigainero, drummer Tony Saputo, guitarists Michael Thomas and Chris Austin, bassist Terry Jackson and backup singer Paula Kaye Evans, as well as the two pilots, Donald Holmes and Christopher Hollinger, all died in the crash, which took place at 1:45 a.m. McEntire, Blackstock and Spika were woken up and informed of the crash and McEntire flew back to Nashville the next day. She canceled all upcoming shows after the crash but ultimately returned to the stage at the ACM Awards just nine days later.
McEntire remembers her friends every year on the anniversary of the accident. On the 25th anniversary in 2016, the singer posted a photo of herself on a plane, writing that she had visited the crash site the previous year.
Photo Credit: Getty / Rich Fury/ACMA2019