LONDON - The mother of two children who drowned alongside their British father in Spain has denied reports that they could not swim, suggesting instead that something was wrong with the resort's swimming pool.
The tragedy took place on Christmas Eve as the family of five was holidaying at Club La Costa World in the southern Spanish resort of Mijas.
"The three of them knew how to swim," said Ms Olubunmi Diya in a statement published on Friday (Dec 27) by the family's London-based church on Facebook, adding that the whole family was present when the incident happened.
"The children went into the pool using the steps but found themselves dragged into the middle, which was deeper and called for help when they could not get out," she said, describing how her husband then entered the water to help them.
"I believe something was wrong with the pool that must have made swimming difficult for them at that point in time."
Mr Gabriel Diya, 52, a Christian pastor, died alongside his nine-year-old daughter Comfort and his 16-year-old son Praise-Emmanuel, who holds American nationality.
"We are deeply shocked, saddened and struggling to come to terms with their passing," Ms Olubunmi Diya added.
Sources close to the Spanish investigation had earlier said that a surviving sister had told police that the three did not how to swim.
Police had examined the pool's filters to see if the young girl had somehow been sucked in by the water purification system, a spokesman said.
The pool reopened on Thursday, according to footage shown on Spanish national television.
In a statement, Club La Costa World said police had carried out a full investigation and given "formal permission to reopen the pool as they found no concerns relating to the pool or procedures in place".
"This was a tragic accident which has left everyone surrounding the incident in shock," it said, expressing concern for the care and support of the surviving family members and asking that their privacy be respected.