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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 14:15 GMT
'Faulty plane' killed Zambia team
Kelvin Mutale's grave
Kelvin Mutale was one of those who died in the crash
An official report into the 1993 plane crash which killed 18 members of Zambia's football team has blamed a mechanical fault in the left engine.

Then the pilots switched off the still functioning right engine by mistake because of a "poor indicator light bulb" causing the plane to lose all power and crash, the report said.

The first report was released on Friday - 10 years after the national tragedy.

A lawyer for the victims' families accused the government of "gross negligence" for using a faulty plane.

Sakwiva Sikota, who is also an opposition member of parliament, urged the government to issue a public apology and increase the compensation payment to the victims' relatives.

Heroes' Acre

The report, released in parliament by Vice President Nevers Mumba, said that the loss of power and lift indicated the failure of both engines but said the government may wish to have this confirmed by experts.

It also said that the pilot was tired, having just flown back from Mauritius the previous day.

Mr Mumba said the government would make an official statement on the report at a later date.

The BBC's Kennedy Gondwe in Lusaka says that Zambians are angry that it took so long for the report to be released.

The Zambian Air Force plane crashed near Gabon on 28 April 1993, as it was taking the football team to play a World Cup qualifier in Senegal.

Thirty people died in total, including some of Zambia's most talented players.

They were buried just outside Independence Stadium in Lusaka, at a special monument called "Heroes' Acre".




WATCH AND LISTEN
Kennedy Gondwe on BBC Focus on Africa
"People here are very angry"



SEE ALSO:
Dangers of flying in Africa
09 May 03  |  Africa
The day a nation cried
24 Apr 03  |  Africa
Sichone honours glory Bullets
22 Apr 03  |  Africa



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