Costa del Sol: Mother says husband and children who drowned could swim

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Gabriel Diya and Comfort DiyaImage source, Facebook
Image caption,
Gabriel Diya and his daughter Comfort died at a resort on the Costa del Sol

A woman whose husband and two children drowned in a resort swimming pool on the Costa del Sol on Christmas Eve has insisted all three knew how to swim.

Spanish police concluded Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine, and his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, died after getting out of their depth.

But Olubunmi Diya has denied that - and said "something was wrong with the pool" at the resort in Fuengirola.

Hotel operator Club La Costa World said the pool was "working normally".

A statement from the Spanish police said initial evidence found the incident was a "tragic accident" caused by the victim's "lack of expertise" in swimming.

An autopsy of the bodies found they died by drowning.

Earlier, Spanish media reported another of Mrs Diya's daughters had told police that the three could not swim.

But, in a statement released to the media, Mrs Diya said "We never informed the police or anyone that the family members could not swim."

She added: "I believe something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time.

"My husband went in via the steps trying to help the two struggling [children] while I ran to the nearby apartments shouting for help to assist my husband.

"By the time assistance came, the three of them were under the water."

In response to Mrs Diya's statement, Club La Costa World resort said her claims were "directly at odds with the findings of the police report" and "their exhaustive investigations have confirmed the pool was working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind".

The resort said the pool remained closed "out of respect to the victims of this tragedy".

"Our sympathies remain with the family at what we understand must be a stressful and desperately upsetting time for them," a statement added.

A police spokesman said divers retrieved Comfort's swimming hat from the pool pump but investigators had found nothing wrong with the pool.

They also confirmed there were no lifeguards on duty because it was so small it was "not necessary".

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The sprawling Club La Costa World resort has several swimming pools

Paying tribute to her husband and children, Mrs Diya said she was "utterly heartbroken".

She added: "We are deeply shocked, saddened and struggling to come to terms with their passing.

"They all brought a joy and love to the world and to everyone that crossed their path.

"We love them all dearly, will always remember them in our hearts and miss them greatly."

Mr Diya was a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in south-east London.

His fellow pastor Agu Irukwu described him as a "humble, friendly and a committed pastor and Christian leader".

Lemmy Gbenga Ayodele, from the same church, said that it was "difficult to comprehend" the death of his "very good friend" and two children.

He added: "When you said 'bye and seeing you later' a few days ago I didn't know you meant eternity."