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Poor swimming pool design led to drowning of Nigerian RCCG UK-based Pastor,his two children - Expert

Poor swimming pool design led to drowning of Nigerian-born British pastor, his 2 children –Expert


As the relatives of Gabriel Diya, a Nigerian- British man whose death along with his two children in Spain last week, continues to evoke deep anguish across continents, struggle to come to terms with the tragic situation, a global swimming pool expert has offered his assessment of the situation.



According to Allen Wilson, known as one of the leading swimming pool experts in the world who investigate pool deaths, the family tragedy which occurred in the famous Costa Del Sol in Spain must have been largely caused by a combination of human error and poor pool design.



52-year-old Diya, a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in the United Kingdom; his 9-yearold daughter, Comfort and 16-year-old son, Praise-Emmanuel, drowned in tragic circumstances on Christmas Eve while on holiday in Spain.



According to Civil Guard investigators, the deaths were as a result of a “tragic accident”, with their first official statement even pointing to a “lack of swimming expertise” and saying case can be closed after concluding their initial report and handing it to a Spanish magistrate.



But in her statement, Olubunmi Diya, the 49-yearold woman shattered by the loss of a husband and two children, hit back by insisting they could swim and claiming “something was wrong with the pool” at their Club La Costa World resort near Fuengirola.

He added that someone may have turned off skimmer overflows which may have caused a suction vacuum, which pulls things towards it making it virtually impossible to escape from.





This has been recognised as a hazard, especially as the granddaughter of former USA Secretary of State James Baker died in a similar situation in America. Mr Wilson – who consults on swimming pool safety around the world and runs his own Health and Safety company – said: “I have investigated many deaths of children and adults abroad for UK and foreign tour operators including TUI and Thomas Cook.”



“Due to the traumatic nature of this incident, my company would offer to travel to Spain for the family to carry out a report, free of charge. “In this case it appears from the family statements and witness accounts all to point to an excessive suction vacuum.”





The woman, from Charlton, south east London, is now taking legal action, something Wilson, a former President of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers, agrees with. So convinced is that something is wrong with the pool that he is willing to fly out and inspect the pool for free.



According to him, images of the pool that he sees, show that it is hazardous – with only a single domestic pool outlet instead of two separate outlets as suggested by Federation of Tour Operators guidelines for holiday complexes. Having worked as an expert on swimming pools for over forty years across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Wilson should know and he is of the added belief that human error may also have contributed to the tragedy.
“I have seen the news reports and images and video of the pool with police divers and the actual pool appears to have been badly designed with just one outlet at the bottom of the pool. “In my experience, this is likely to have been a contributing factor in the deaths.



The daughter appears to have got into trouble along with her father and brother who seem to have been dragged underwater which can be a sign of a huge vacuum.



“This is usually caused by human error from turning off the skimmers – an overflow system that takes surplus water away – causing massive suction from the outlet at the bottom of pool during cleaning of pool filters or maintenance,” he stated.
Further, he said: “The pressure of suction and current becomes enormous and when it starts dragging water in the pool towards it there is often no escape unless the pump is turned off manually. “Swimming away from the current becomes very, very difficult if not impossible once it gets you in its grips.



“If there had been two outlets the vacuum pressure would have been halved but from what I have seen if you swam near the one vacuum you wouldn’t get away.



“In my experience abroad many swimming pools have poor design or maintenance and standards are not the same as in the UK they are constructed to local standards instead which are not as stringent.



“Police are also not equipped to do this type of investigation it has to be done by specialists. There needs to be an immediate and impartial investigation by an independent swimming pool expert to examine the pool and its surroundings to find out what went wrong.”



A local lawyer Javier Toro, the spokesman for the centreright Citizens party in the municipality, is now understood to be working for Mrs Diya, who said she is “disturbed” by “inaccurate information” issued by the police which claimed the trio had a “lack of swimming expertise”. “The three of them knew how to swim. We never informed the police or anyone that the family members could not swim.”
“The whole family, all five of us went to the pool together and were all present when the incident occurred. The children were not left unattended,” she submitted. Her statement said they all followed the instructions displayed by the poolside using the steps to get in and out.



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