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UK News

Pastor’s wife claims something was ‘wrong’ with swimming pool where her family died

by Tola Mbakwe

The wife of a pastor who drowned alongside his two children while holidaying in the Costa del Sol said all three could swim, and has claimed there was something "wrong" with the pool they died in.

Pastor Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine, and his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, died on Christmas Eve at the Club La Costa World holiday resort in Fuengirola, Spain.

Olubunmi Diya said her family is “utterly heartbroken” by what happened but is “comforted and strengthened” by their “faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”.

“We are deeply shocked, saddened and struggling to come to terms with their passing,” she added.

“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."

She also said in a statement that she believed "something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time".

Contrary to previous media reports Mrs Diya said the three of them knew how to swim.

She said: "The whole family, all five of us went to the pool together and were all present when the incident occurred.

"The children were not left unattended.

"We followed the instructions displayed by the poolside at all times.

"The children went into the pool using the steps but found themselves dragged into the middle, which was deeper and called for help when they could not get out.

"My daughter did not fall into the water.

"My husband went in via the steps trying to help the two struggling 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."

She added that her eldest daughter who was also holidaying with them was unharmed and not medically examined.

Hotel operator CLC World Resorts and Hotels said "diligent and exhaustive" police investigations had confirmed the pool was working "normally" and there was "no malfunction of any kind".

According to a statement issued by the Guardia Civil in Spain, its investigation points to the incident being an accident caused by the victims' lack of swimming expertise when in the deep zone of the pool.

It said inspections of the pool's systems had found no irregularities.

The statement also said the youngest child's swimming hat was retrieved from the pool.

In a statement released on Friday, CLC World Resorts and Hotels said: "Diligent and exhaustive police investigations into this tragedy have confirmed that the pool was working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind.

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

Mrs Diya added in her statement: "Our family are utterly heartbroken by the events last Tuesday, but we are comforted and strengthened by our strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"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'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.

It is part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which posted in tribute on

Facebook, offering its condolences to the family "with heavy hearts".

Neighbours of the family in Charlton said they were left "devastated" and "sad" by the deaths.

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