Report of the Gabon disaster as released by plane manufacturers

Report of the Gabon disaster as released by plane manufacturers

The World Aviation Safety Network With the help of De Havilland, the Canadian company that manufactured the plane that killed Zambian Footballers released the Report below.

Zambia didn’t release their part of the report, but manufactures are obliged to release to air craft regulators.

The report blames Zambia authorities in that,
1. Plane was not airworthy
2. Crew was  fatigued

This probably had far reaching implications.
Why did General Ronnie  Shikapwasha as Air commander release a faulty plane?
Dipak Patel was sports Minister, but we did he turn down a commercial charter.

Late Ben Mwila was Defence Minister, what was his role?The preliminary report pointed to top insiders.
Zambia was supposed to conduct investigations to answer to those issues.

Then MD for Zanaco Ngandu Magande was fired shortly after refusing to release money for investigations. In his memoirs he claims the money was for retrieving the wreck. Samuel Musonda replaced Magande. The investigations proceeded.
Manufacturers and Gabon both gave Zambia their findings..


Here is part of the report;

“The flight had been specially arranged by the Zambian Air Force for the football team. The journey was scheduled to make three refuelling stops; the first at Brazzaville, Congo, the second at Libreville, Gabon, and the third at Abidjan, Ivory Coast.”

Flight route

“At the first stop in Brazzaville engine problems were noted.”

“Despite this, the flight continued and a few minutes after taking off from the second stop in Libreville the left engine caught fire and failed.”

“The pilot, who had also flown the team from a match in Mauritius the previous day, then shut down the right engine, causing the plane to lose all power during the climb out of Libreville Airport and fall into the water 500 m (550 yd) offshore.”

:A Gabonese report released in 2003 attributed the pilot’s actions to a faulty warning light and fatigue on the part of the pilot.”

The DHC-5 Buffalo is a short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport turboprop aircraft developed from the earlier piston-powered DHC-4 Caribou.

The aircraft has extraordinary STOL performance and is able to take off in distances much shorter than even most light aircraft can manage.


The Zambian national football team had to play a World cup qualification match against the Senegal national team.

In order to transport the team and officials to Dakar, a Zambian Air Force plane was prepared.

The DHC-5 Buffalo, AF-319, had not been flying from December 21, 1992 to April 21, 1993 so test flights were carried out on April 22 and April 26. On April 26 both the A and B checks were carried out revealing certain defects such as carbon particles in the engine and in speed decreased gearbox oil filters, disconnected or unbridled cables and trace of heating.

The Buffalo departed Lusaka, for Dakar with planned intermediate stops at Brazzaville, Libreville and Abidjan. After refuelling at Libreville, the aircraft took-off at 22:44 hours, one hour and 45 minutes late.

Shortly afterwards the left engine caught fire.
The plane headed out over sea and lost altitude until it struck the water 500 m offshore.

An investigation conducted by the Gabonese Ministry of Defence suggested that the pilot shut down the remaining right-hand engine causing the plane to lose all power.

The report, released in November 2003, also said that the pilot was tired, having just flown back from Mauritius the previous day.

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