Reba McEntire Honors Band Members Who Died on 30th Anniversary of Plane Crash With Touching Post

by Emily Morgan

Reba McEntire made sure to pay her respects to her friends and former band members who passed away in a tragic accident in 1991. On March 16, 1991, a plane carrying seven members of Reba McEntire’s band crashed into a mountain in San Diego. Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of the crash, and Reba McEntire posted a touching tribute in her former band members’ remembrance. 

“No matter how long ago a tragedy happened and no matter how much time goes by after losing people we love…the anniversaries of losing them still sting and memories come rushing in,” she wrote on Instagram. “Praying for peace today along with all the families of Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Jim Hammon, Terry Jackson, Tony Saputo, and Michael Thomas.”

Alongside the tribute, she posted a series of photos showing each of the late band members’ faces. Tragically, the crash killed everyone on board, including the pilots. McEntire lost her fiddle player Chris Austin, frontman Kirk Cappello, keyboardist Joey Cigainero, backup singer Paula Kaye Evans, tour manager Jim Hammon, bassist Terry Jackson, drummer Anthony Saputo, and guitarist Michael Thomas.

Before the crash, Reba McEntire played a private show for IBM executives in San Diego a day before the tragedy. After the performance, the band was scheduled to play back-to-back shows in Indiana. McEntire and her then-husband Narvel Blackstock and stylist decided their fate when they spent the night in San Diego. They decided to stay after McEntire came down with bronchitis. McEntire later released For My Broken Heart as a tribute to her former band members.

Reba McEntire Pays Her Respects to the Band Members With Each Passing Year

In addition to the remembrance album, McEntire has honored the band members with each passing year. Reba McEntire took a helicopter to the crash site in 2015 to remember those she lost. 

She made a trip to San Diego in 2016 and shared it with fans online. “Today is the 25th anniversary of the airplane crash,” McEntire began. “I went back to San Diego Nov of last year and took a helicopter up to the crash site. I feel in my heart that they know we still miss them so much. My love and prayers to all the families and friends.”

Last year, the anniversary of the tragedy coincided with the death of Reba McEntire’s mom. Her mom, Jacqueline Smith, died from cancer just two days before the anniversary of the crash. 

That year, Reba McEntire made sure to remember the event as well as her mom’s passing. She wrote that “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,” she continued. “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.”