The British girl (14) tells how she saw her father, brother and sister drown in the Costa del Sol swimming pool
The first blow-by-blow story in their own words of the mother and child whose family members drowned in a Costa del Sol swimming pool can be revealed today.
Heartbroken Favor Diya, 14, told the police that she was close to the same fate as younger sister Comfort, nine, and brother Emmanuel-Prince, 16, after “sliding” to the deep end.
She admitted that she was “frightened” and struggled to achieve safety after she realized she was out of her depth in a swimming pool that she only discovered was the deepest in the middle when she took her first vacation dip.
And she revealed how she heard her brother calling for help as she tried to get out of the water as he began to experience difficulties and Comfort, nine, began to drown.
Gabriel Diya with his 14-year-old daughter Favor (second photo on the left with her brother Praise-Emmanuel who died next to their father). Depicted (right) is his wife, Olubnmi
Civil security divers (right) working on the side of a swimming pool in the resort of Club La Costa World near Malaga, Spain, on December 24
Grace told the police during an interview last Thursday – recorded in a four-page statement summarizing their testimony in Spanish together with a translator – that they saw their Christian pastor father Gabriel take off his pants and jump into the water to try save them while sprinting to the area where there was a lifebuoy.
Mr. and Mrs. Diya and their children, who live in Charlton, southeast London, had checked in at Club La Costa World near Fuengirola on December 21 for a one-week vacation.
St Richards Church Center in Charlton, South East London, where Pastor Gabriel Diya worked. The 52-year-old, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine, and his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, drowned in a pool at Club La Costa World in Spain on Christmas Eve
Comfort, nine, (pictured above with her father in 2016) had played in the pool with sister Favor when she slipped and drifted to the deep end that was six and a half feet deep
Ms. Diya said earlier in a statement that all three could swim and claimed that there was “something wrong” with the Spanish hotel pool (photo)
An English translation of a Guardia Civil statement issued by the hotel operator stated that tests had found “no irregularities” in the (pictured) system of the swimming pool
Researchers from the Civil Guard described the drowning of Christmas Eve after statements by survivors Favor and her mother Olubunmi, 49, as a “tragic accident.”
The police also said in an official statement at the end of last week that everything pointed to the death of the holiday due to the lack of swimming expertise of the victims.
Mrs. Diya responded by insisting that they could all swim and through a lawyer she said she thought there was “something wrong with the pool” after the first speculation that there could have been a problem with the pumping system that the police insisted they could not find evidence of tests.
The tragedy probe remains open, despite BBC reports today / yesterday (MON) saying that the police said the case could be closed after closing their first report. Court of Justice number two in Fuengirola is charged with the ongoing investigation.
The grief-stricken favor was only able to offer her version of the events 48 hours after the Christmas Eve drama during an interview at a Guardia Civil station in Mijas near the site of the tragedy.
A police van is shown on the scene after the nine-year-old girl ran into trouble in the swimming pool of the Club La Costa World resort near Fuengirola
Recalling how the whole family went to the pool so that the children could take their first dive after the morning prayer and cereal, she told the police during a question and answer session summarized in her statement: “My sister and I had swimming lessons at school and had swam occasionally in a pool, but it wasn’t normal because we didn’t go on vacation often. “
Recalling how their parents went to a garden by the pool while they were getting ready to go into the water, she added, “We would all jump into three hands, but at the last minute I still had my towel around me I was going to take it off while my brother and sister got into the water before I came to them.
‘We have normally been in pools where the water starts shallow and becomes deeper, with the deep end furthest from the area you enter.
“We didn’t know that the deepest part of the pool was a bit in the middle, and my brother and sister went to that part.
“I realized that I was out of my depth shortly after I entered the water. I got scared and only managed to get out of the water with some difficulty, because I’m not used to swimming in places where the water is deep and I can’t get up.
“When I tried to get away, I heard my brother scream for help and saw my sister under water and my brother struggled to keep his head above water.
“My father, who was not in the water, quickly took off his pants and jumped into the water to help my brother and sister.”
She told the police that she did not see if Mr. Diya was able to reach them because she was running to get a lifebuoy that she had “great difficulty” in disengaging from the holder.
Favor said her loved ones were already under water when she threw it in the pool.
Her mother went in search of help and knocked on the doors by the pool until three cleaners saw her and warned the reception.
Staff then restored the bodies of her father and brothers and sisters.
Asked if her father knew how to swim, Favor said to the police: “I don’t know. My father travels a lot and we have never swam together. “
Asked again why her sister was in the deepest part of the pool after she confessed she had never swum in the sea or in a part of a pool where she was not out of the depth, she repeated: “We never thought the deepest part of the pool was in the middle and the slope in the pool made her slide to the middle and that was the reason my sister was there and the reason why I finally slipped into that area. “
She told the police that she could get out on time because she was the last to come in and was closer to the steps of the pool that she could use to leave the water.
She admitted she couldn’t remember any strange noises, described the water as “cold” but acceptable, and insisted that the tragedy would have been avoided if there had been a lifeguard.
In a revelation that adds fuel to speculation, there was a deviation in the pool, she said when asked if she could remember “some suction or flow in the pool”: “The water was moving but I don’t know how to get it out to lay. “
Although Favor told the police that she didn’t know that the deepest part of the pool was in the middle, the children’s mother insisted on investigators she’d told her youngest girl Comfort.
She also revealed that none of the three cleaners she encountered when trying desperately to help knew how to swim.
She said they chose the pool where the tragedy took place, because another one was on their complex for children under six.
She insisted that they had used steps to get into the water and confirmed in her interview to the police that it was also summarized in a four-page statement in Spanish from her English comments sent to the police by a translator I was told that Favor was the last of the children to go into the water because the 14-year-old had to leave her towel behind.
She said, “I heard my son screaming for help in the middle of the pool, and my husband took off his pants and jumped into the water to help our daughter who I could not see above the water surface while I ran for help.”
Asked if her husband knew how to swim, she said to the police: “I know he swam in rivers when he was younger, but I have never seen him swim.”
Regarding her children’s knowledge about swimming, she said: “They had lessons at school and my youngest child had the last lesson the week before our vacation.
“They have always swam only in swimming pools, never in the sea, and in areas where they were not deep.
“They always knew they could not be in the area where they were not from the depths and could stand upright.”
She insisted that she thought something “strange” had led them to the deep end of the pool.
She confirmed that she was aware of the depths of the pool in the different parts and told the police when she was asked if her children knew she had “told her youngest daughter not to go in the middle of the pool because it was the deepest part was’.
She admitted they were not used to the hollow pool where they died, said they had all been in good health before the tragedy, and said she agreed with Favor that there would have been no loss of life if a lifeguard was present.
Toxicological tests are expected to take a few weeks because they have been sent to a specialized laboratory in Seville.
In a statement released after the tragedy by her lawyer Javier Toro, Mrs. Diya said: “I would like to thank everyone who sent his condolences and supported our family during this extremely difficult time after the tragic death of Gabriel, Comfort and Praise-Emmanuel .
“Our family is deeply saddened by the events of last Tuesday, but we are comforted and strengthened by our strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
‘We are deeply shocked, sad and struggling to cope with their death. They all brought joy and love to the world and to everyone who crossed their path. We love them very much, will always remember them in our hearts and miss them enormously. “
The police claimed why they were drowned and added: “All three knew how to swim.
‘We never informed the police or anyone else that the family members could not swim.
“The whole family, we all had been to the pool together five and were all present when the incident occurred. The children did not remain unattended.
“We have always followed the swimming pool instructions.
‘The children entered the pool via the stairs, but were dragged to the middle, which was deeper and called for help when they could not get out.
“My daughter didn’t fall into the water.
“My husband entered the stairs and tried to help the two struggle while I ran to the nearby apartments to call for help to help my husband.
“By the time there was help, all three were under water.
“My oldest daughter was not medically examined, as claimed by some news media.
“I think there was something wrong with the pool that made it difficult for them to swim at the time.
“The Spanish police are still conducting investigations to determine what happened and no information has been provided to the family about their conclusions.
“When we process our loss, we ask for privacy so that our family can mourn privately.”
Police said in a long statement released prior to Ms. Diya’s reply: “The Civil Guard investigation, after conducting various tests and taking statements from various people who were caught up in the Christmas Eve tragedy, points to to a tragic accident that was caused in principle by the lack of swimming expertise of the victims.
“According to the only direct witness in the family, three siblings aged nine, fourteen and sixteen were in the shallow end of the pool at the complex where the family had checked in on December 22, while their parents were sunbathing.
“The 14-year-old girl left the pool at one point and saw her younger sister walk to the deep and could not come out of the water alone.
“When he saw what was going on, their 16-year-old brother went to help her, but encountered the same problem when leaving the pool.
“The sister who was out of the water screamed at her parents and the mother asked other neighbors for help while the father jumped into the pool to save his children, something he couldn’t do because he couldn’t swim.
“Efforts to revive the three dead people proved impossible after their bodies had recovered from the water.”
Reveal the battery of tests conducted by expert Civil Guard divers the same afternoon, including circulation system and pool motor checks, had found “nothing irregular,” the statement added: “The Civil Guard officers collected water samples that are currently be analyzed.
‘The autopsies indicated that they died from drowning and basically ruled out any chemical poisoning.
“The bodies also seemed to have no signs of injury or scratches that could have caused the elements that make up the pool circulation system.
“For all the above reasons, all tests and evidence gathered so far, including the statements of the other two members of the family, who were the only direct witnesses to what happened, indicate that this is a tragic accident as a result of the lack of victims of the swimming expertise when they came deep into the pool. “
Officers also confirmed in the police statement that the Comfort swimming cap was found at the bottom of the pool without specifying exactly where.
Resort leaders have previously insisted that the police found “no worries” with the pool during testing, despite initial speculation by local media that there might be a problem with the pool pump system.
They said in a statement issued over the weekend: “Of course we heard the comments on behalf of Mrs. Diya in a much published statement to the media.
“The statements in that statement are at odds with the findings of the police report. This makes it clear that their extensive investigations have confirmed that the pool was operating normally and that there was no malfunction. “