THE owner of the Spanish hotel where a pastor and two of his children drowned has hit back at his widow’s claims there was something wrong with the pool.
Olubunmi Diya’s nine-year-old daughter Comfort is believed to have been struggling to stay afloat when her son Praise-Emmanuel, 16, and husband Gabriel Diya, 52, jumped in to save her.
All three fell unconscious in the communal pool at Fuengirola’s Club La Costa World hotel and could not be revived by emergency services.
Ms Diya later said she believed “something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time”.
But the hotel’s operator – CLC World Resorts and Hotels – insisted her allegations were “directly at odds with the findings of the police report”.
The company stressed that those findings make it “clear that their exhaustive investigations have confirmed the pool was working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind.”
They added Civil Guard investigators believe the deaths were the result of “a tragic accident due to the lack of expertise in swimming of the victims”.
The 49-year-old, from Charlton, south east London, hit back by instead insisting “something was wrong with the pool” at Club La Costa World.
Local lawyer Javier Toro, the spokesman for the centre-right Citizens party in the municipality, is now understood to be working for Mrs Diya.
In a statement Mrs Diya said: “I would like to thank all those who have sent their condolences and supported our family during this extremely difficult time following the tragic deaths of Gabriel, Comfort and Praise-Emmanuel.
“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.”
Mrs Diya said she was “disturbed” by “inaccurate information” issued by the police which claimed the trio had a “lack of swimming expertise”.
“THEY KNEW HOW TO SWIM”
She said: “The three of them knew how to swim.
“We never informed the police or anyone that the family members could not swim.
“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.”
Her statement said they all followed the instructions displayed by the poolside using the steps to get in and out.
However, her children then found themselves being “dragged” into the middle of the pool which was deeper and they called for help when they could not get out.
She added: “My daughter did not fall into the water.
“My husband went in via the steps trying to hep 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.
“I believe something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time.”
Her statement was published after Spanish police made their first official comments on the triple tragedy.
The Civil Guard force said: “According to the only direct family witness, three siblings aged nine, 14 and 16 were in the shallow end of the pool at the complex the family had checked into on December 22, while their parents were sunbathing.
“The girl of 14 left the pool at one point and saw how her younger sister was going towards the deep end and couldn’t get out of the water by herself.
“When he saw what was happening their 16-year-old brother went to help her but experienced the same problem getting out of the swimming pool.
“The sister that was out of the water shouted out to her parents, and the mum asked other neighbours for help while the father jumped into the pool to rescue his children, something which he was unable to do because he couldn’t swim.
“Efforts to revive the three people who died proved impossible after their bodies were recovered from the water.”
Revealing the tests performed the same afternoon by expert Civil Guard divers, which included checks on the circulation system and pool motor, the force said “nothing irregular” was found.
Police added: “The Civil Guard officers collected water samples which are currently being analysed.
“The autopsies indicated they died from drowning and ruled out in principle any chemical poisoning.
“The bodies didn’t appear either to have any signs of injury on them or scratches that the elements that make up the pool circulation system could have caused.
“For all the above reasons, all the tests and evidence collected so far including the statements of the other two members of the family who were the only direct witnesses of what occurred, point to this being a tragic accident resulting from the victims’ lack of swimming expertise when they entered the pool deep end.”
Resort chiefs said the claims being made by Mrs Diya were directly at odds with officers findings.
They said the report “makes it clear” that investigations found the pool was “working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind”.
A spokesman added: “The police report containing full findings has been passed to us and also made public by the police.
“We would emphasise that these are findings of the police investigation and not our own internal findings.
“Our sympathies remain with the family at what we understand must be a stressful and desperately upsetting time for them.”