Monday, March 21, 2011

20th Anniversary of Reba McEntire’s Darkest Hour

Russ Harrington
March 16th, Reba took time out to remember the friends she lost 20 years ago, posting a special tribute landing page. 

It was on March 16th in 1991, that a jet, containing seven of Reba?s band members and road manager, as well as the pilot and co-pilot, crashed into Otay Mountain, near San Diego, CA, killing all 10 people on board. “By far this is my darkest hour, the most awful thing that ever happened in my life,” she told People just days after the accident. “When you have eight people that you absolutely love and their lives are just wiped out -- it's devastating.” 

[from PEOPLE] The twin-engine Hawker Siddeley took off about 1:45 am from Brown Field, a municipal airstrip in southern San Diego and crashed a few minutes later, according to articles about the accident. Only four hours before, guitarist Chris Austin, 27, backup singer Paula Kaye Evans, 33, bassist Terry Jack-son, 28, bandleader Kirk Cappello, 28, guitarist Michael Thomas, 34, drummer Tony Saputo, 34, and keyboardist Joey Cigainero, 27, had performed a 75-minute set with Reba at a convention for IBM at San Diego's Sheraton Harbor Is-land Hotel. Among their last songs to perform was one of Reba?s favorites, Patsy Cline?s "Sweet Dreams,” which she vowed never to perform again. The next night, they were booked for a show in Fort Wayne, Ind.  

Reba skipped the flight after her husband and manager, Narvel Blackstock, urged her to stay behind and get a good night?s sleep as she was recovering from a case of bronchitis. They planned to fly to Fort Wayne the next day. Band members Joe McGlohon and Pete Finney took off from Brown Field in a different plane, just minutes behind the other jet. Around 2:30am, the phone rang in their hotel room while they were sound asleep, and their pilot asked Narvel to come to his room, where he informed him of the tragic news. The most difficult time in both Reba and Narvel?s lives was about to follow – informing the families that their loved ones weren't making it back home.

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