Steve Buff (Ethiopia 1964-66) and his new friend, Greek-Ethiopian, George Christodoulos, were in the boat that Kathy Coskran attempted to contact without success while she and the others were on the sandbar. According to Steve Buff, he and George  did hear the PCVs and paddled over to them.

Buff, in his account that I published on PeaceCorpsWriters, writes: “Villagers gathered at the riverbank….They were joined by an American army colonel named Dow who was on safari with a Swiss guide, Karl Luthy. … We learned from Luthy and from several other people that this group of PCVs (or at least some members of the group) had been warned repeatedly not to go into the river, that a large crocodile lived in a bank nearby, and had ‘taken’ a woman only recently.”

Kathy Coskran in her account of what happened that afternoon is clear that “no one told me about the crocodile.” Knowing Kathy at this time in her life, (I was an APCD in Ethiopia) I have no doubt that this is true. She was then 22 or 23 years old and a mature woman. She was not given to doing anything foolish, or would risk her life. No one told Kathleen Costkran about any crocodile in the Baro River. If they had, she would never have gone swimming.

What I think happened was this. The local people, the Swiss hunter, the army colonel Dow, all had warned in various ways the PCVs who had just left Gambella on the Ethiopian DC 3. They had not warned Kathy and Bill Olson and the others. After all, PCVs all look alike! There were 9 PCV who left on the DC 3 plane that had just brought to Gambella the Baro River: Bill Olson, Kathy Coskran and the others.

No one warned this new group, thinking they were the same PCVs. The confusion was as simple and as tragic as that.

End of Part Five