ONE of the world's leading swimming pool experts who investigates pool deaths abroad believes the Brits family tragedy in Costa Del Sol has been whitewashed.
Allen Wilson-former President of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers-says he believes a combination of factors including human error and poor pool design contributed to the tragedy.
Christian preacher Gabriel Diya, 52, son Praise Emanuel, 16, and daughter Comfort, nine, died on Christmas Eve in their holiday swimming pool .
Civil Guard investigators described it as a "tragic accident" and even suggested in their first official statement everything was pointing to the holiday deaths being caused by their "lack of swimming expertise".
They have said now the case can be closed after concluding their initial report and handing it to a Spanish magistrate.
But heartbroken mum and wife Olubunmi Diya, 49, from Charlton, south east London, hit back by insisting they could swim and claiming “something was wrong with the pool” at their Club La Costa World resort near Fuengirola.
She says her daughter was "dragged" into the center of the pool and then her son and husband who tried to save her also fell afoul of the pool.
She is now taking legal action.
Mr Wilson agrees with the mother and is so convinced that something has gone wrong, he is willing to fly out and inspect the pool for free.
He claims images of the pool show that it was hazardous-with only a single domestic pool outlet instead of two separate outlets as suggested by Federation of Tour Operators guidelines for holiday complexes.
Mr Wilson-who has worked as an expert on swimming pools for over forty years across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East-believes human error may also have contributed to the tragedy.
He says 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 recognized as a hazard and 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."
"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."
"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."
Heartbroken mum Ms Olubunmihas hired a top lawyer after disputing police claims her family couldn't swim.
Local lawyer Javier Toro, the spokesman for the centre-right Citizens party in the municipality, is now understood to be working for Ms Diya.
Ms Diya said she was “disturbed” by “inaccurate information” issued by the police which claimed the trio had a "lack of swimming expertise".
She said: "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."
Her statement said they all followed the instructions displayed by the poolside using the steps to get in and out.
However, her children then found themselves being "dragged" into the middle of the pool which was deeper and they called for help when they could not get out.
She added: "My daughter did not fall into the water."
"My husband went in via the steps trying to help the two struggling while I ran to the nearby apartments shouting for help to assist my husband."
"By the time assistance came, the three of them were under the water."
"I believe something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time."
But Resort chiefs said the claims being made by Ms Diya were directly at odds with police officers' findings.
They said the report "makes it clear" that investigations found the pool was "working normally and there was no malfunction of any kind."
Nick Harris Head of Travel at Simpson Millar Solicitors who has handled hundreds of accident legal claims around the world, said: "Clearly something has gone seriously wrong for all those family members to die in such a horrific way.
"They (the police) just appear to want to sweep it under the carpet and close the case as soon as possible as resorts popular with Brits want to protect their tourism industry.
"There has been no independent investigation which I would expect in these type of situations now the family must insist on getting their own experts opinions so they can find out what really happened."
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