A heartbroken father has criticized the Albanian authorities for “dragging off” after failing to charge anyone over his daughter’s death in a diving accident a year ago.
Rebecca Gannon, 29, died a year ago next month while on vacation with her boyfriend Robert Kerans, after they dove into the water to view a sunken shipwreck.
Grieving father George Gannon, 61, has spent the last ten months in the coastal city of Sarande seeking answers and, above all, justice, but has been met with silence from officials.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, George, from Stone, Staffordshire, said: “This has cost my family our business and our sanity, but we will not stop fighting until we get justice for Beccie.”
“I went to Albania a month after his funeral and I spent the winter, spring and the first part of the summer there just to try to find out what happened.
Grieving father George Gannon, 61, has spent the last ten months in the coastal town of Sarande searching for answers to his daughter’s death.
“How can a girl with everything in her life end up dying while on vacation?” George said.
Rebecca and Robert both had PADI scuba certificates and on that fateful day last September
‘How can it be that almost a year later nothing has happened? It’s an open and shut case,’ George asked.
‘How does a young woman with everything that awaits her in life end up dying while on vacation? Why can’t we as a family get any answers as to what exactly happened?
She was an experienced diver and had dived in New Zealand, Australia, South America, Canada and England. She had years of experience and was perfectly healthy.
“I have asked to speak to the prosecutors and I have been very polite because I know there is no point in getting angry, but security won’t even let me through the gate.
His death certificate says he drowned, but me, my wife, son and daughter want to know why he died and we want justice.
‘How can it be that almost a year later nothing has happened? It’s an open and shut case. It is not complicated, they are the people who organized the trip and we want to see them in front of a judge, but it does not seem that it will happen soon.
Rebecca and Robert both held PADI scuba certificates and on that fateful day last September they had chosen to go diving with a company called Spiranca Diving Centre.
Rebecca was an experienced diver who had dived in New Zealand, Australia, South America, Canada and England.
George says that Beccie told him that almost all the equipment on the ship was faulty.
George blames the people who run Spiranca Boat Center for his daughter’s death
George, who used to run a bakery business with his wife Gill, said: “There were twelve people on the boat when Beccie died, and we know the visibility wasn’t good, but the owner got them out.”
Beccie even said her life jacket wasn’t working and one of the team members shook it and said “okay” but obviously it wasn’t, and we know her oxygen tank was pretty much empty.
“We know Beccie came up and then Robert went back up because his ear was uncovered, but the guide went up with him and they should have stayed with my daughter.”
“She was left alone and visibility was poor and she disappeared. It took them twenty minutes to realize she was gone and when they went downstairs and found her, she was dead.
“The equipment was poor and the organization was shoddy and as a result my daughter died, but the authorities are not doing anything and we simply cannot get justice.
George Says He Got In Trouble After Lighting This Monument At Sea Where Rebecca Died
He says that he has invested his life savings in uncovering the truth behind his daughter’s death.
“This has cost us over £40,000 because we spent our savings and because I was in Albania we closed the business as my wife is too heartbroken to work.
“We have not had the support of the Albanian police, the local prosecutors and the British embassy in Tirana have not done anything.
“They even told us to try the Greek embassy because they could make things work but what authority do they have as Beccie was British.”
Following the tragedy, the manager of the diving company Saimir Kushova and his partner Gerta Brozi were arrested on suspicion of violating health and safety regulations, but were later released on bail.
George, who is now on antidepressants, added: “We haven’t even been able to carry out an inquest here in Staffordshire yet because the coroner keeps asking Albanians for paperwork and hasn’t received anything.”
“When I first arrived in October, the local police chief was a bit reluctant to help, but then he opened up and I felt like we were getting somewhere, but then he was transferred out of the area and it was back to square one.” .
“He told me it was because of the company and faulty equipment, although it doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out and that’s why we want the owners to face justice.”
‘I spent Christmas and New Year in Albania alone, my wife went out for a few days but couldn’t bear to be there so she went home because it was too much for her.
“I only came back to England in July for my son’s wedding and to get some rest from the heat because it’s so hot, but I’ll be back in September. I’m not going to stop until there is justice for Beccie.’
An English inquiry into Rebecca’s death has not been launched as the Albanian authorities have not yet sent the required documentation.
Both George and his wife Gill have been unable to work due to bereavement.
“It was the worst day of my life and I had only seen her a week before when she stopped by to say goodbye,” the grieving father said.
George added: “I will never forget the day we found out Beccie had died – we were at home watching the Queen’s funeral on TV when two policemen knocked on the door and told us.”
“It was the worst day of my life and I had only seen her a week before when she stopped by to say goodbye.
“The whole world just fell apart and that is why we want to see justice. She should never have been abandoned and she should never have received faulty equipment.
While in Albania, George consoled himself by taking a boat to where his daughter died and then setting fire to a wooden monument that sank to the bottom of the sea, saying, “I got in trouble for that, but it was worth every penny.” .’
Lawyer Erion Muka, who represents the family and is based in the Albanian capital of Tirana, told MailOnline: “In May, I asked the prosecutors to provide us with all the evidence they had gathered so far, but so far we have received no reply.
“They should have responded within 15 days as it is the family’s right to know what is going on with the investigation, but we have not had any response, which adds to their grief.
“They just want to see the case resolved and the people involved in court, but for whatever reason, it seems like we’re not getting anywhere.”
The family has established a crowdfunding page on Just Giving to try to raise funds to help cover legal costs.