Gabriel Diya, a 52 year-old London-based pastor, his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, and daughter Comfort Diya, drowned in a hotel swimming pool on the Costa del Sol on Christmas Eve.
The Guardian UK reports that police confirmed the identities of the British family on Thursday.Diya was minister in charge at Open Heavens in Charlton, South-east London, which is part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), a Nigeria-based network of religious groups.
They died at the Club La Costa World resort on the Spanish coast, about two miles to the south of Fuengirola and about 20 miles from Málaga.
According to Spanish police, Comfort got into difficulty while playing in one of the 21 swimming pools at the resort.
Her father and older brother jumped in to try to save her but also struggled in the water. Despite poolside attempts to resuscitate them, all three died at the scene.
A witness told the Mirror that Diya’s wife prayed as CPR was performed on her husband and children.
Speaking outside her home in Charlton, south-east London, Lara Akins, a neighborhood of the family, said: “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.”
Diya’s wife and the third sibling had been given psychological treatment.
The resort management, which has opened its own internal investigation into the incident, denied any negligence and insisted there was “no problem” with the pool which was “totally fit for swimming”.
The pool did not have lifeguards on duty at the time of incident, according to local reports. It has since reopened to the public.
The UK’s central office of the RCCG described the death of Diya and his two children as a “tragic accident”.
In a Facebook post it said Diya is survived by another daughter and his wife, Olubunmi Diya, who is an assistant pastor at Open Heavens.
It said: “At this very difficult time, our prayers are with Pastor Gabriel Diya’s family, the parishes that were under his supervision, friends, associates, members of RCCG and the general public.”
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