Reba McEntire Honors Late Bandmates on 33rd Anniversary of 1991 Plane Crash: ‘Rest in Peace, My Friends’

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

Eight of McEntire’s band members tragically lost their lives when their jet crashed into a mountain after departing from her San Diego concert.

Reba McEntire is taking a moment to remember her bandmates, 33 years after their tragic passing.

The country icon, aged 68, took to Instagram on Saturday to share a heartfelt post commemorating her eight late band and crew members who lost their lives in a plane crash following her concert in San Diego in March 1991.

“I guess the world ain’t gonna stop… for my broken heart,” McEntire wrote, quoting lyrics from her song “For My Broken Heart,” which was released on an album of the same name later that year. Alongside the quote, she included a list of those who perished: Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Jim Hammon, Terry Jackson, Tony Saputo, and Michael Thomas.

“33 years today since Heaven gained some great angels,” she wrote in the caption alongside the post. “Rest in peace, my friends.”

The band members were among the ten individuals who tragically lost their lives when the jet’s wing clipped a rock and crashed into a mountain near the United States–Mexico border. McEntire, her stylist, and her then-husband and manager Narvel Blackstock were scheduled to depart from San Diego the following day on a separate flight.

“According to a representative for McEntire who spoke to the Los Angeles Times, she had developed strong bonds with each of them, with some having been by her side for years. The representative emphasized McEntire’s profound devastation, likening the loss to that of losing a family member. Currently, her priority is to return to Nashville.”

In 2022, McEntire spoke with PEOPLE magazine about her band members and recounted the moment she received news of their deaths.

“I wasn’t sure if I could go on,” McEntire revealed. “But it underscored for me the preciousness of life, and through the grace of God and my faith, I came to understand that they had moved on to a better place.”

Despite being slated to depart on a separate plane the morning after the accident, McEntire emphasized that she “never held God responsible” for their passing, though she admitted she will have “questions when I get up there.”

“From that experience, I’ve learned the importance of taking each day as it comes and being profoundly thankful for what we have,” she remarked. “It’s vital to express love and gratitude to those in your life.”

Eight months following the tragic event, the actress released “For My Broken Heart” as a tribute to the departed musicians, a gesture that later resulted in it becoming her highest-selling album to date.

In the decades since the loss of her band members, McEntire has frequently reflected on the incident. In 2020, amidst the recent passing of her mother Jacqueline in March, she looked back on both losses.

“29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash. The timing of Mama’s passing alongside that anniversary feels fitting,” she shared on Instagram. “I believe they’re all together in Heaven, watching over each other. Let’s continue to support one another here on earth and cherish every moment with our loved ones.”