Costa del Sol: Man who gave CPR says pool deaths were preventable

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Media caption“I knew it was something serious… a death cry”: Josias Fletchman gave CPR at the poolside

A man who performed CPR when a British family drowned in a pool at a resort on the Costa del Sol has said more could have been done to prevent their deaths.

Gabriel Diya, 52, his daughter Comfort, nine, and his son Praise-Emmanuel, 16, drowned at the Club La Costa World resort on Christmas Eve.

Josias Fletchman comforted the children’s mother when medics called off attempts to revive her family.

Spanish police say the deaths were a tragic accident.

A senior leader of the church where Mr Diya was a pastor in south-east London said he died trying to save his children, adding: “That was the kind of man he was.”

Agu Irukwu, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, also said that Mr Diya’s wife Olubunmi was a “special” woman who was coping with the tragedy “remarkably well”.

It comes as Mr Fletchman, 35, a British tourist from Manchester who was on a family holiday at the time of the deaths, said safety measures such as a lifeguard by the pool could have helped prevent them.

He said he first knew something was wrong when a Spanish woman ran into the hotel reception making a “death cry”.

The youth support worker was one of the first people at the scene and gave CPR to Praise-Emmanuel at the poolside.

Mr Fletchman, who has three children, said the ordeal was “traumatising”.

After medics called off attempts to revive the three family members, Mr Fletchman said he held Mrs Diya’s hand and prayed with her.

Her lawyers have questioned the thoroughness of the police investigation – and the recommendation to close the case after one week.

Mr Fletchman said he was surprised police had not spoken to him.

“If it was my situation, my family members, I’d want [police] to speak to everybody. I’d want an investigation… well and truly they should be investigating,” he told the BBC.

He said there were “things that could have been put in place” to prevent what happened.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The sprawling Club La Costa World resort has several swimming pools

Mr Fletchman said a staff member “had to run to the reception” to alert someone and should have had a walkie talkie or another way of raising the alarm.

He called this an example of “silly mistakes”.

“I’m not going to sit here and blame anybody, but… if it was my family that it happened to… I’d be raising alarm bells,” he said.

Mr Fletchman said he felt there should have been a lifeguard on duty and that signs indicating the depth of the pool could have been clearer.

He added that, had there been constant supervision, Mr Diya “wouldn’t have had to jump in” and called it “a simple thing of paying somebody a standard minimum wage”.

“It’s better to do that and save three lives than not do that,” he said.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Gabriel Diya, a pastor in south-east London, died with his daughter Comfort

Pastor Agu Irukwu said Mr Diya “loved his family dearly”.

“He died trying to save his children and that really says it all. That was the kind of man he was. He loved his wife, loved his children passionately, loved God dearly,” he added.

Speaking about Mrs Diya, he said: “I’ve never seen anyone deal with the loss of a loved one with the grace and the dignity with which I saw [Olubunmi] deal with it.”

Spanish authorities described the deaths as a freak accident caused by a “lack of expertise” in swimming – adding that there was no accountability on the part of the hotel.

Mrs Diya has previously said that all three family members could swim and she believes there was a fault with the pool.

Investigators said divers retrieved Comfort’s swimming hat from the pool pump but investigators had found nothing wrong with the pool.

The hotel operator, Club La Costa World, has said Mrs Diya’s claims were “directly at odds with the findings of the police report” and “their exhaustive investigations have confirmed the pool was working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind”.



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