Father in holiday swimming tragedy a Christian pastor

CLC World Resorts and Hotels also said: “All at Club La Costa World resort are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded on Tuesday, where a father and his two children were found unresponsive in a swimming pool and, despite the best efforts of our first response team and the emergency services, could not be revived.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th December 2019, 11:43 am
In this photo taken on Tuesday Dec. 24, 2019, Civil guard divers, right, work at the side of a swimming pool at the Club La Costa World holiday resort near Malaga, Spain. Spanish police are investigating the swimming pool deaths of a British man, his 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son in Spain's Costa del Sol. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken on Tuesday Dec. 24, 2019, Civil guard divers, right, work at the side of a swimming pool at the Club La Costa World holiday resort near Malaga, Spain. Spanish police are investigating the swimming pool deaths of a British man, his 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son in Spain's Costa del Sol. (AP Photo)

Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine, and his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, are understood to have died in the triple tragedy at the Club La Costa World holiday resort.

Reports suggest Comfort struggled in the water before her brother and father jumped in, in a failed attempt to rescue her.

Another daughter who was not harmed told Spanish police none of the three were able to swim, according to Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.

Local reports said Spanish police were investigating the pool pump for a possible failure, with a report in Malaga’s Diario Sur newspaper saying Comfort’s swimming cap was found in the pool’s suction system.

Inquiries have found “no concerns relating to the pool in question” and the incident appears to be a “tragic accident”, according to hotel operator CLC World Resorts and Hotels.

In a statement the firm said: “The Guardia Civil have carried out a full investigation which found no concerns relating to the pool in question or procedures in place, which leaves us to believe this was a tragic accident which has left everyone surrounding the incident in shock.”

It is understood Mr Diya and Comfort were British citizens, while Praise-Emmanuel was an American citizen.

Local freelance journalist Gerard Couzens told the BBC the pool has since reopened after being given the all-clear by Spanish police.

Mr Diya’s Facebook account lists him as a pastor at Open Heavens London, a Christian religious group with origins in Nigeria, based in Charlton, south-east London.

In a post celebrating new year 2018, he wrote: “I am so grateful to the ALMIGHTY GOD, the OWNER of my life, my Maker, my Shield, my Exceeding Joy & my Sustainer for everything and for all things since all these years.”

No-one from the organisation was immediately available to comment.

A witness said Mr Diya’s wife prayed as CPR was performed on her husband and children at the Mijas resort, near the town of Fuengirola, according to a report in the Mirror.

Father-of-three Josias Fletchman was quoted as saying: “The mum was praying for them to come back to life.

“She was calm. She was touching their bodies. She continued praying even after the ambulance people arrived and had stopped trying to revive them.

“She exercised her faith to the limit. I was performing CPR on her husband but I’m a believer and I prayed as well.”

Another daughter was reportedly on the family holiday but unharmed.

A holidaymaker at the hotel told the PA news agency she saw “bodies covered in white sheets” by the pool, and could hear “a woman crying aloud”.

Tanya Aamer, 23, from Birmingham, said: “The atmosphere as I was walking past is indescribable.

“Obviously we’ve never been in that situation before so we kind of, just began walking slowly in a slight state of confusion as to what we’re witnessing, and eventually when we got to the bottom it was just silent, no talking or anything.”

In a statement CLC World Resorts and Hotels also said: “All at Club La Costa World resort are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded on Tuesday, where a father and his two children were found unresponsive in a swimming pool and, despite the best efforts of our first response team and the emergency services, could not be revived.

“The management are assisting the authorities fully with their investigation into the deaths.”