The British dad who drowned alongside two of his children on the Costa del Sol in Spain has been identified as a devout Christian pastor, according to reports.
Gabriel Diya, 52, and his son Praise-Emmanuel Diya, 16, were named as the family members who died trying to save 9-year-old Comfort Diya after she became trapped in the pool on Christmas Eve, according to The Telegraph.
The family is based in London but the teenage boy was traveling on a US passport, the paper said.
Dad Diya is originally from Ile-Ife, Nigeria but is now a pastor at Open Heavens in southeast London, part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Nigeria-based network of religious groups.
The group offered “prayers” as it confirmed the news with “heavy hearts” in a Facebook tribute. It added that Diya’s wife, Olubunmi — who witnesses said desperately prayed as CPR was administered to her husband and kids — is also an assistant pastor.
Diya and his teenage son are believed to have died after trying to save Comfort when she became trapped underwater at the Club La Costa World in Las Lagunas de Mijas near Málaga.
Police later found her swimming cap inside the pool’s pump system – suggesting the three family members may have been sucked to their deaths, according to reports.
The pool where the three victims were foundREUTERS
Post-mortem exams ruled out poisoning in the water, and another family member — a 12-year-old girl — showed no symptoms of being harmed by chemicals despite also being in the pool, The Telegraph reported.
The three deaths were officially ruled drownings, the paper said.
“We are carrying out multiple lines of inquiry, including looking at the swimming pool pumps,” a source at the Civil Guard told The Times of London.
“At this point everything indicates the deaths were accidental,” the source said, calling it a ” truly terrible thing.”
Despite the ongoing mystery, the Guardia Civil gave “formal permission to reopen the pool,” the resort said in a statement on Facebook.
“They found no concerns relating to the pool or procedures in place, which leaves us to believe this was a tragic accident which has left everyone surrounding the incident in shock,” the resort said.
“Naturally our primary concern remains the care and support of the remaining family members,” it added, requesting privacy for them “at this traumatic time.”
Counselors are now comforting the widowed mom and her 12-year-old daughter — and relatives have flown from the UK to be by their side, according to the reports.