Three British family members drowned in Costa del Sol after girl, 9, 'slipped in pool and drifted into deep end'

Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine,drowned at the resort in Costa Del Sol(Picture: Facebook)

A nine-year-old girl drowned in the Costa del Sol alongside her dad and brother after she slipped in a pool and her family jumped in to save her, according to reports.

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

None of the family from Charlton, south-east London, could swim properly, according to police who claimed another daughter Favour, 14,  who was not harmed, told them this.

She apparently said Comfort slipped and then drifted towards the six-and-a-half feet deep side of the water at around 2pm.

Her father and brother jumped in after hearing her cries for help.

Favour said her brother Praise-Emmanuel had looked for a lifebuoy for Comfort before entering the water, according to Spanish newspaper Diario Sur.

A Spanish Civil Guard spokesman said there was no lifeguard at the pool because it was small and it was ‘not necessary’.

Mr Diya was a pastor at Open Heavens London, a Christian religious group with origins in Nigeria, based in Charlton (Picture: Facebook)
The family were staying at the Club La Costa World resort in Fuengirola, Spain (Picture: Google)

Spokesman for the Civil Guard union AUGC Francisco Gonzalez said: 'The surviving sister has said they didn’t know how to swim.

'With that information and the fact we know the water in the pool was very cold, the mystery of what caused this awful tragedy begins to unravel itself.'

The children’s mum Olubunmi, 49, reportedly confirmed her drowned family members could not swim, with Comfort having only had a few swimming lessons.

She was inside the holiday apartment when the tragedy unfolded.

A witness said Olubunmi 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.”

It is understood that the father and daughter are both British, while the son is American (Picture: Google)

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.

But 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.

The pool at the resort near the town of Fuengirola has since re-opened after being given the all-clear by Spanish police.

In a statement, CLC 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.”


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The family’s neighbour Lara Akins, 59,  said she was “really devastated” to learn of the deaths, describing the Diyas as “very religious, very friendly, very humble”.

Speaking outside her home in Charlton, south-east London, Lara Akins, she added: “I still can’t comprehend it, it’s still shocking.

“They are so nice, that is why everybody is shocked… we are very friendly with each other.”

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.

It is part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which posted in tribute on Facebook: “With heavy hearts, we extend our condolences to the family, parish, friends and associates of Area Pastor Gabriel Diya who sadly passed away, along with two of his children … in a tragic incident while on a family holiday in Spain.

“At this very difficult time, 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.”

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