Saturday , June 10 2023
A member of the family is reported to have told police that Gabriel Diya, 52, a Christian pastor, could not swim (AP Photo) (AP Photo)

How RCCG Area Pastor, Son and daughter died in a swimming pool on Christmas Eve

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Tributes are being paid to a British man of Nigerian origin and his two children who died in a ‘tragic pool accident’ in the Costa del Sol on Christmas Eve.

Pastor Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort Diya, nine, and son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, died in a triple swimming pool tragedy on Christmas Eve.

It is still a mystery  how all three members of the same family lost their lives at the Club La Costa World complex near Fuengirola in Spain.

It comes as local media reports that a member of the family has told police that Gabriel Diya, 52, a Christian pastor, could not swim.

Reports suggest Comfort struggled in the water before her brother and father jumped in, in a failed attempt to rescue her. The church where Mr Diya was a pastor said its thoughts and prayers were with the family.

Gabriel Diya, 52, and Comfort, nine, lost their lives in the tragic incident

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Stevenage, said in a post 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.’

The post added: ‘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.’

A neighbour of the family said she was ‘really devastated’ to learn of the deaths, describing the Diyas as ‘very religious, very friendly, very humble’.

Local reports say Gabriel Diya, 52, was a Christian pastor and could not swim

Speaking outside her home in Charlton, south-east London, Lara Akins, 59, 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.’ 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.

 In a statement the firm 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.’

Civil guard divers, right, work at the side of a swimming pool at the Club La Costa World holiday resort (Picture: AP)

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.

Emma Morris, 38, daughter of another neighbour of the Diyas, said her mother Pauline Morris, 64, knew them as ‘really nice people’.

 She said: ‘They were just a really nice family; they spoke to everyone here. ‘It’s so sad, it’s such a shame.’

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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