Reba McEntire Breaks Down on ‘Oprah’s Master Class’ Recalling Fatal Plane Crash
More than 20 years ago, in March of 1991, Reba McEntire experienced a tragedy that will stay with her for the rest of her life. On Sunday night (March 4), the country star opened up on the OWN show ‘Oprah’s Master Class’ about the tragic plane crash that took the lives of seven of her band members, as well as her tour manager and two pilots.
Struggling to contain the emotion that’s still raw after so many years, McEntire gently relays the story in the emotional video clip below. She remembers playing a private show in San Diego and having two planes waiting at Brown Field Municipal Airport to take her and her band to Fort Wayne, Ind. for their next show. But the whole bunch wasn’t traveling together. McEntire, her husband and manager Norville Blackstock, and McEntire’s clothing and makeup stylist Sandi Spika all opted to stay in San Diego overnight while the others headed to Indiana. As soon as one of the planes took off, however, tragedy struck unexpectedly.
“One of them took off, and when the other one took off, 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 remembers. “When we were notified, Norville went and met with our pilot, and he told us what had happened. And Norville 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.’” McEntire tearfully remembers waiting for a phone call notifying her that everyone was all right. But that call never came — everyone on the plane had died.
“Norville was going room to room with a phone and calling …” McEntire starts in the clip. Her words are cut short by emotion, and then she looks up at the camera with tear-filled eyes saying, “I’m sorry — it’s been 20 years, but it’s just like — I don’t guess it ever quits hurting. But I can see that room. I can see Norville walking back and forth.”
The country star relays the rest of her story in this snippet from Sunday’s episode, remembering how friends like Vince Gill and Dolly Parton offered up their services and even their bands to help her finish out her tour that at the time, she had no intention of finishing.
“It was a huge outpour of friends and the community, family, that were there for us, but nobody could replace the ones that we love so much that we lost,” she explains. “And that’s one of the questions I’ll ask God when I get up there: Why’d you take them so quick? They had so much more to give, and we had so much more to learn from them.”
Watch Reba on ‘Oprah’s Master Class’ Recalling the Fatal Plane Crash