Bod­ies of drowned RCCG pas­tor, kids flown from Spain to UK

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE -

The deaths of the Lon­don fam­ily in a Club La Costa World pool in Spain has left wife and mum of the vic­tims Olubunmi Diya with ques­tions about what hap­pened to her loved ones.

The bod­ies of the Bri­tish dad and his two chil­dren who drowned in a Costa del Sol swim­ming pool were due to be repa­tri­ated on Satur­day.

Of­fi­cials took the bod­ies to Malaga Air­port in three fu­neral hearses on Satur­day morn­ing so they could be flown back to the UK 11 days af­ter the Christ­mas eve hol­i­day tragedy that claimed their lives.

Gabriel Diya, 52, and his chil­dren Com­fort, nine, and Em­manuel-prince, 16, lost their lives af­ter tak­ing their first hol­i­day dip at their pool on the Club La Costa World re­sort near Fuen­girola, Spain.

Po­lice have de­scribed the in­ci­dent as a ‘tragic ac­ci­dent’ caused by the vic­tims’ lack of swim­ming skills.

But Chris­tian preacher Mr Diya’s widow Olubunmi, who re­turned to the UK with her sur­viv­ing daugh­ter Favour, 14, last Satur­day, has hired a Span­ish lawyer af­ter claim­ing her loved ones could all swim and there was some­thing wrong with the pool.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by a court in Fuen­girola is on­go­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Mir­ror UK.

Po­lice tests have shown up no anom­alies with the pool.

Mrs Diya’s lawyer javier Toro has said he could press for new tests on the pool done by en­gi­neers he would hire for the job once he has read through the po­lice re­port.

It was not clear to­day when the funer­als of Mr Diya and his chil­dren would take place. The plane car­ry­ing their bod­ies was ex­pected to reach the UK late af­ter­noon.

Mr Diya, who lived with his fam­ily in Charl­ton, south east Lon­don, was a pas­tor at a branch in the cap­i­tal of the Redeemed Chris­tian Church of God.

Pas­tor Agu Irukwu, chair­man of the RCCG board of trustees in the UK, told the Guardian news­pa­per overnight he had spent time with Mrs Diya and she had been griev­ing but show­ing “grace and dig­nity.”

he said: “My wife and I were re­ally amazed at the grace and dig­nity she is ex­hibit­ing at a time like this.

“We left there think­ing we had been in the pres­ence of a re­mark­able woman.”

Heart­bro­ken Favour Diya told po­lice af­ter the tragedy she had come close to suf­fer­ing the same fate as her sib­lings af­ter “slid­ing to­wards the deep part” of the pool which was in the mid­dle.

She ad­mit­ted to never hav­ing swum in ar­eas where she was out of her depth but told cops who in­ter­viewed her when she was asked if she could re­mem­ber any suc­tion or cur­rent in the pool: “The wa­ter was mov­ing but I don’t know how to ex­plain it.”

Although Favour told po­lice she was not aware the deep­est part of the pool was in the mid­dle, the chil­dren’s mum in­sisted to in­ves­ti­ga­tors she had told her youngest girl Com­fort.

In a state­ment re­leased three days af­ter the tragedy through her lawyer, 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.

“We are deeply shocked, sad­dened and strug­gling to come to terms with their pass­ing.

“They all brought a joy and love to the world and to ev­ery­one that crossed their path. We love them all dearly, will al­ways re­mem­ber them in our hearts and miss them greatly.”

•De­mon­stra­tors protest­ing the US drone at­tack which killed Iran’s Ma­jor Gen­eral Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan­uary 3, in Wash­ing­ton DC, US … on Satur­day. Photo: AFP

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