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Reba McEntire Reflects On Devastating 1991 Plane Crash That Killed Eight Of Her Band Members

The country music star told 'People' she considered quitting the music business after hearing the news.

Reba McEntire Reflects On Devastating 1991 Plane Crash That Killed Eight Of Her Band Members
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Gateway Celebrity Fight Night Foundation

Country music superstar Reba McEntire reflected on the plane crash 31 years ago that nearly ended her life and resulted in the deaths of eight of her band members.

In March 1991, a business jet carrying a two-person crew and eight musicians from McEntire's band crashed on the side of Otay Mountain near the U.S.-Mexico border following a private music performance for IBM executives in San Diego, California.

All ten people on board perished in the horrific tragedy.

McEntire was not on that flight.

She opened up about her grief and what she learned from that dark period in a new interview with PEOPLE magazine.

"I didn't know if I was going to be able to continue," she told the media outlet.

"But it showed me how precious life is, and by the grace of God and my faith, I realized that they went on to a better place."

Musicians Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Evans, Terry Jackson, Anthony Saputo, Michael Thomas and tour manager Jim Hammon were on the flight that crashed about 33 miles southeast of downtown San Diego.

Pilot Donald Holms and co-pilot Chris Hollinger also died in the crash.

The flight was headed for refueling in Amarillo, Texas, and then on to her next scheduled concert appearance in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

McEntire was scheduled to depart on a different plane following the morning of the tragedy, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the singer stayed behind to support her then-husband Narvel Blackstock as he recovered from a case of bronchitis.

McEntire said she "never blamed God" for the deaths of her musician friends, however, the 67-year-old country music icon said she has "questions when I get up there."

She continued:

"From that I learned that you need to take it one day at a time and be very grateful for the things that you have."

McEntire encouraged people to:

"Tell folks in your life how much you love and appreciate them."

The tragic experience inspired McEntire to release her critically acclaimed album For My Broken Heart eight months after the crash.

The album which she dedicated to the deceased musicians remains to be her highest-selling album to date.

A month after the album's release, she went on to star in The Gambler Returns with her friend and fellow country star Kenny Rogers–an experience that she reportedly said has "saved my sanity."