Today marks the 19th anniversary of the tragedy that befell our country in 1993.

During the late evening of Tuesday 27 April 1993 the Zambian Air Force Buffalo DHC-5D carrying most of the Zambian national football team to a FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in Dakar caught fire and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 500 metres offshore near Libreville, Gabon.
The plane had made a refuelling stop in Libreville en route to Dakar. All 30 passengers died, among them most of the finest generation of footballers Zambia had ever ­produced.

Eventually 24 bodies were recovered, but only 13 could be identified.

A Gabonese official investigation into the accident concluded that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine after a fire. The investigation found that pilot fatigue and an instrument error had contributed to the accident.The Zambian government is yet to release a full report of the air crash to be unveiled to the public or family members.

The Copper Bullets ‘Chipolopolo’ honored the fallen heroes when they won AFCON trophy earlier in the year in Gabon.

‘We wanted to honour the dead players and that strengthened us. Our first game was against Senegal and the team was on its way to Senegal for a match when the plane crashed. The plane crashed in Gabon and we won the final in Gabon. It is a sign of destiny,”Zambia coach Herve Renard said after Zambia lifted the trophy.

Let us remember our brothers that lost their lives for us. “Rest in Peace”.
Gone but not forgotten

Footballers
Efford Chabala (goalkeeper)
John Soko (defender)
Whiteson Changwe (defender)
Robert Watiyakeni (defender)
Eston Mulenga (midfielder)
Derby Makinka (midfielder)
Moses Chikwalakwala (midfielder)
Wisdom Mumba Chansa (midfielder)
Kelvin “Malaza” Mutale (striker)
Timothy Mwitwa (striker)
Numba Mwila (midfielder)
Richard Mwanza (goalkeeper)
Samuel Chomba (defender)
Moses Masuwa (striker)
Kenan Simambe (defender)
Godfrey Kangwa (midfielder)
Winter Mumba (defender)
Patrick “Bomber” Banda (striker)

Coaching staff
Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu
Alex Chola
Wilson Mtonga (doctor)
Wilson Sakala

Others
Michael Mwape (FAZ Chairman)
Nelson Zimba (public servant)
Joseph Bwalya Salim (journalist)

Crew
Colonel Fenton Mhone (pilot)
Lt Colonel Victor Mubanga (pilot)
Lt Colonel James Sachika (pilot)
Warrant Officer Edward Nambote (fitter)
Corporal Tomson Sakala (steward)

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35 COMMENTS

  1. My souls says it is well and am sure the people who died in the Plane crush would say the same especially after their brother completed the work they had started. In my heart this is a peaceful memorial because we won that elusive AFCON. To God be the glory. We still remember you. Out of sight is not out of mind. You mean a lot to mother Zambia because you died on duty. We love you and put your families in our prayers for this is not an easy time for them.

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  2. when i remember this day i feel bad truly they where gr8 players just starting by they names it was owesame to here Fathe D in annoucing the sqaurd rest in peace guys,thanks to the chipolopolo it was a dream come true 2012,

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  3. Indeed God blessed Kalu to deliver us. No matter how Kalu was shot at by the so called PHDs, God was on his side and he delivered. What else do we need from him, mwe bantu!!! The next step is to challenge Ayatu as CAF presido. Mbo Simata Simata has been very quite of late. Where are you, Simata??? The one you hated most, Kalu, delivered. And you have been silenced both politically and footbally! Stop betraying the anoited ones.You always make wrong calculations and movements. Hard lucky, man! Please STOP hating your own brethrens or else you will continue being cursed.

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  4. Thank LT for this great article…….God bless Zambia,and may our HEROs rest in Peace Now we have the Cup…..Thanks for the sacrifice for Mother Zambia. MTSRHIP..

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  5. I have great respect for great Kalu. He has survived many tornados. He is indeed a great warrior.Others could have given up. He is indeed a great man. Viva Kalu!!! Kalu for CAF presido…!! The guy is anointed by God and no man can pull him down at the moment but only God can do that.

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  6. I am an admirer of Lwisha, abena mafukeni. I lasted visited Zambia, Mufulira in particular in 1988 Jan. I even visited Kantanshi Secondary School where i was from 1974 to 1978.It was wonderful. I love Zambia despite being away all this long. I am live in Netherlands and married from there with four children.

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  7. I thought the unfortunate air disaster happened on 28 April 1993 and not 27 April. Am I the only one who has the date amiss?

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    • We are atleast 6 hours behind here in the USA according to the Greenwich Meridian Time. April 27th in the USA after midnight is April 28th Zambian time. Lets remember this unfortunate incident without unnecessary questions. I lost 13 friends in that Gabon crash.

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  8. What tribe is Kalu. I am told his father was a Tonga bull from Namwala area. Could this be true??? And his mother from Serenje Central province? No wonder Kalu resembles Bantu Botatwe sons.

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  9. No, Kalu’s father was from Tonga from the valley and not plateau. So he is not a real Tonga bull. But his mum was Aushi from Mansa, Luapula province.

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  10. Kalu’s parents were both from River pool. Father was Chishinga from Kalima Nkonde Lunda District and mum was Aushi from Mansa, Chief Chimese area.

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  11. No.10 The accident happened on April 28 (or atleast we learnt about it on that day here in Zambia). That is also KK’s birthday!

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    • Brother, we are in the USA and No.10 forgot about the time differential between the prime meridian which demarcates our difference in time. I have tried to explain to him though.

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  12. Have you seen anything like FAZ spokesperson in the entourage. What is the use of having the so called FAZ spokesperson Eric Mwanza, and yet you are busy asking for money to pay the coach. Can you prune some of these unwanted persons.Just because of his big and wide mouth you call him ati FAZ spokesperson. What money do generate imwe ba FAZ.

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  13. …REST IN PEACE MY ZAMBIAN HEROES. Chipolopolo boys 2012 have carried on your legacy…I pour out a little liquor…SALUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    plackaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa plackaaaaaaaaaa plackaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  14. When i read this tears rolled down my face i can feel that pain that day i couldnt believe it.then i reminded myself about the trophy and felt a relief,my Ex favourite was Eston and we even named our son after him in rememberance.WE LOVE YOU GUYS.rest in peace.

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  15. This is one of the finest articles LT has published: descriptive, allowing a clear understanding. You read it, memories come so fresh! Rest in peace heroes!

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  16. Why mislead people?Eston Mulenga was a fine defender and not a midfielder.Infact he ranks among the best centre backs Zambia has ever produced after Dickson Makwaza,Ackim Musenge and Michael Musonda.Secodly Kenan Simambe was a striker and not a defender!I watched him play and i could not believe the talent in this short man.Thirdly the crash was on 27 april 1993 and not 28 april.We got the news in Zambia on 28 april.May their souls rest in peace.GOD BLESS ZAMBIA.

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  17. I was very young by the but I can still remember the silence that was in the strests that day… Rest in peace our heros

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  18. MYSRIP. You brought honor and glory to our beloved country. We’ll always remember and miss you.

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  19. Kalu, Herve and the Chipolopolo boys did a wonderful job. A special toast to the Frenchman who is very Zambian in his work for now. I will print out the names of our departed stars. I used to forget them.

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  20. I was travelling from Chibombo to Lusaka exactly ninety years ago when I learnt of their demise. tears are still rolling and memories fresh. MYSRIP. To God be all the glory for he alone knows how and when to reward his own. Today we can say, what those fallen heroes and galant sons sought after has finally been accorded to us. Our next target is definately a maiden berth at Brazil 2014.

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  21. In Loving Memory of Friends, Compatriots, Brothers, Children, Fathers, Grandparents of the April 28th Gabon Crash. However our issues or opinions, I believe rather than trying to outwit each other as to who knows better, I feel this is the time to forego all that and commiserate as Zambians. I lost among the player half of my friends/relatives and I would rather remember on this day as gallant Zambians who sacrificed everything for mother Zambia. The pain in the kids and parents they left still haunts me. So lets give them the respect they deserve without adding personal intoxication to this day. May Their Souls Rest In Peace. Forever imprinted in my heart.

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  22. We were equally affected by the loss. May their souls rest in peace. We will remember this loss for ever. Vinthu Bulala malawi.

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