British victims who drowned in Costa del Sol resort could not swim, according to family

Forensics at Malaga’s Institute of Legal Medicine have confirmed that drowning was the sole cause of death for the two siblings and their father

The pool in Mijas where the three family members died.
The pool in Mijas where the three family members died.Daniel Pérez
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Investigation continues into tragic drowning of British tourists in Mijas pool

Drowning was the sole cause of death for the three members of a British family who died Tuesday on Christmas Eve at the Club La Costa World in Mijas, Málaga, according to forensics at Malaga’s Institute of Legal Medicine, who carried out the autopsy on the three bodies on Christmas Day.

Although the pool had six ladders, none of the three managed to get out of the water

The tragic scene unfolded three days into the family’s Christmas break which was due to end on December 28.

Sources from the Institute state that there were no signs of any contusion or intoxication, though Seville’s National Institute of Toxicology is still to carry out complementary tests.

According to sources close to the investigation, the surviving 14-year-old daughter told the Civil Guard that neither Gabriel Diya, 53, his daughter Comfort, nine, or his son Praise Emmanuel, 16, knew how to swim.

The teen explained that she was standing with her little sister in the swimming pool, when the nine-year-old slipped into the deep end.

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in London where Diya worked as a pastor posted a message on Facebook on Thursday which read: “Our prayers are for Pastor Gabriel Diya's family, the parishes that were under his supervision, friends, associates, members of RCCG and the general public.”

Diya was also the pastor for a Christian center called Open Heavens in Charlton, southeast of London.

With heavy hearts, we extend our condolences to the family, parish, friends and associates of Area Pastor Gabriel Diya...

Posted by Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Central Office, UK on Thursday, December 26, 2019

The three family members drowned on Tuesday while on vacation in Mijas, on the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain. The mother and a third child were in the room at the time of the accident.

Suspecting a failure in the pump system, the Civil Guard found that Comfort’s swimming cap had been sucked into it, according to the local daily Sur. The Civil Guard’s Special Subaquatic Group (GEAS) have checked the motors and the rest of the pool’s installations, and taken samples of water for analysis.

Witnesses told the Civil Guard that the nine-year-old girl was in the pool around 1.30pm on Christmas Eve when she called for help because she was having trouble getting out. Her older brother, 16, was the first to jump in to help her, followed immediately by the pair’s father.

The resort’s owners have said there was “no problem” with the pool

Although the pool had six ladders, none of the three managed to get out of the water. On hearing the screams, staff at the resort rushed out to the pool to help. After pulling the bodies from the water, they performed CPR resuscitation, and used defibrillators with the help of an on-site doctor. “But it did no good,” said sources from Club La Costa World.

By the time the emergency services arrived at the scene, all they could do was issue death certificates for the two children and the father. A team of psychologists tended to the mother and the surviving sister. One of the employees at the resort said they also had trouble getting out of the water when they went to resuce the bodies, sources close to the investigation told Spanish news agency EFE.

However, the resort’s owners have said there was “no problem” with the pool and that it “fulfilled all the current requirements and regulations.” This stance was reinforced by the Civil Guard’s statement that the pool was safe to swim in at the end of the day on Tuesday, having removed the barriers used to cordon off the area.

On Wednesday, Juan José Millán, a spokesperson for Club La Costa World, dismissed the possibility of negligence as a cause of death, insisting that the investigation should take its course. The company has launched an internal investigation into what happened, and said in a statement on Wednesday that the tragedy has left the team “in shock.”

“Our primary concern remains the care and support of the remaining family members,” the statement read. “And, in this regard, we would appreciate that their privacy is respected.”

English version by Heather Galloway.


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