08/25/2008 at 03:00 PM EDT
To quote one of Trisha Yearwood's hits, the country star may have been wondering, "How do I live?" during a plane ride last week.
On her way home to Oklahoma from a three-day, 60-mile walk to benefit the Susan G. Komen breast cancer research fund last week, Yearwood took a frightening detour.
While miles in the sky, passengers heard a disturbing noise. "We had been in the air for almost an hour when we heard a loud pop," Yearwood tells PEOPLE.
What she said sounded "almost like a gunshot" was in fact the cracking of the front left window of the plane at 30,000 feet.
"The flight attendant came back and told us to remain calm," says Yearwood. "That's when we saw the two pilots with the oxygen masks on. Hearing them breathe like Darth Vader made it a little harder to stay calm."
But somehow she did. "I tend to be the one in the group who says, ‘Everything is okay.' I'm the calming one. But you could tell by the size of some of my friends' eyeballs that they were scared."
Though the crack in the window became larger and larger, the pilots made an emergency landing in Baltimore before the break had a chance to affect control of the plane.
Yearwood wasn't the only musician to make it through a plane emergency recently: Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson walked away from a plane crash
in Ontario, Canada, this Sunday morning.
"We never lost cabin pressure," says Yearwood, "so we didn't have to use our oxygen masks. I can't imagine what might have happened if that window had shattered at 30,000 feet!"
She says didn’t realize how precarious the situation was until she was on the ground. "When we landed and actually saw the crack, I thought, 'Wow. That's really
big.' Then everybody started to say things like, 'If that window blew out, the cabin would have blown apart or you would have frozen to death up there because it was 72 degrees below zero up there.' When people start to tell you things like that, you realize just how scary the situation was and you take a moment to say, 'Thank you God.' "
Despite the drama, which continued on the ground with firetrucks and emergency crews, the singer made the best of it.
During her three-hour wait for another plane she headed to Phillips Seafood at the Baltimore Harbor's Light Street Pavillion for a "fantastic" dinner.
Says Yearwood: "We toasted to surviving the three-day walk – and
the emergency landing!"