When celebrities have harrowing brushes with death, it always captivates the public. However, the fatal plane crash that killed seven members of country music star Reba McEntire's band in 1991 was a tragedy that haunts the singer to this day. The story of how Reba narrowly missed being on the flight that killed ten people is tragic, and highlights how easy it is to lose everything in a single moment.
Reba McEntire is a country music singer who was at her most famous in the late 1980s and early 1990s, right when the crash occurred. At the time, she was one of country music's top female artists, along with other powerhouses such as Dolly Parton. The devastating crash had a huge impact upon McEntire's life and led her to dedicate her next album to the members of the band she lost in the accident. To this day she still pays tribute to them and in 2016 visited the crash site that caused so much devastation.
On March 15, 1991, McEntire and her band performed for IBM executives in San Diego. They were then scheduled to fly to Indiana late that night. McEntire chartered two private planes for her band members to fly on but, sadly, the aircraft carrying seven of her band members and her tour manager crashed almost immediately after taking off, killing everyone on board. The second plane, which carried two other band members, took off with no knowledge of the crash, and was diverted to Nashville, where the passengers and crew learned of the accident.
Luckily, McEntire, her husband, and her stylist narrowly avoided being killed in the same crash thanks to a case of bronchitis, which prompted the star to remain in San Diego overnight and fly to Indiana one day after her band.
McEntire would've been on one of the two planes flying out of San Diego if she hadn't decided to stay an extra night. McEntire remained behind to recover from a case of bronchitis, wanting to rest before her next scheduled performance. If McEntire hadn't been sick, she could have very well been on the plane that crashed — there was a 50% chance she would've perished leaving San Diego.
McEntire wasn't the only one who likely owed her life to bronchitis — her husband, Narvel Blackstock, and stylist, Sandy Spika, also stayed behind with her, avoiding any possibility of being on that fatal flight. Blackstock was the one who broke the news of the crash to McEntire, at three in the morning. When she asked if her bandmates were okay, Blackstock told her, "I don't think so."
The only reason McEntire's entire band didn't perish was because there was a second plane, which took off only three minutes after the first, with no knowledge of the crash. All the second plane knew was that radio contact was lost, and that they were being diverted from Indiana to Nashville. The second plane carried two band members and road crew members.