The Buffalo Collision: A Compelling Must-Read
A recently published book claims to unravel a 30-year-old mystery surrounding the absence of an official report on the military air crash that tragically claimed the lives of Zambia’s national football team in 1993.
Titled “Crash of the Buffalo,” authored by Jay Mwamba, a former Zambia Daily Mail sports reporter now based in New York, the book asserts a straightforward explanation for the missing report – it was never written or does not exist.
Quoting former Zambian President Rupiah Banda, a devoted football enthusiast who passed away in March 2022, Mwamba reveals that there was no documentation pertaining to the Gabon Disaster.
The book also includes statements from Kaweche Kaunda, son of Zambia’s inaugural President, Kenneth Kaunda, who corroborates the assertion of the nonexistence of an official report.
Kaunda highlights the curious trend of successive Zambian governments over the past three decades withholding the release of such a report, spanning various presidential tenures.
Despite the absence of an official Zambian report, the only documented account of the crash was provided by Gabonese authorities in 2003, nearly a decade after the tragic incident.
The report attributed the crash to the senior pilot, Colonel Fenton Mhone, who, reportedly fatigued after a prior flight to Mauritius, allegedly switched off the plane’s only source of thrust – the right engine – in a panic after the left engine exploded. However, Mwamba’s book challenges this narrative, suggesting that Mhone was not in the cockpit at the time of the crash, based on the condition of the recovered bodies, particularly the relatively intact remains of the pilots.
The book also unveils additional revelations, such as the Buffalo’s Aircraft on Ground (AOG) status, denoting a serious technical fault, four months before the Gabon crash. This status was assigned while the Canadian-built DHC-5D Buffalo military transport was parked at the Zambia Air Force base in Lusaka.
In a surprising connection, the book highlights that, without the Gabon crash, Jamaica’s national football team might not have acquired its iconic nickname, the “Reggae Boyz.
” The moniker was reportedly coined by a Zambian player during Zambia’s tour of Jamaica in August 1995, marking a significant moment in the nation’s recovery under the guidance of Danish coach Roald Poulsen.