Spain eyes autopsy for clues after British man, two children die in pool tragedy

Civil guard divers (right) work at the side of the resort's swimming pool. PHOTO: AP

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish experts were to carry out an autopsy on Thursday (Dec 26) to determine why a British man and two of his children drowned in a pool in a holiday complex near Malaga, police said.

The tragedy, which was witnessed by the children's mother, took place on Christmas Eve as the family-of-five was holidaying at La Costa World holiday complex in the southern Spanish resort of Mijas.

Police identified the victims as a nine-year-old girl, her 16-year-old brother who holds American nationality, and their 52-year-old father, amending an earlier statement which said he was 53.

They did not give their names.

"The girl was swimming. She had trouble getting out of the water. Her father and her brother jumped into the pool to save her but all three drowned," a police spokesman told AFP.

The details were provided by the mother who witnessed the incident, as well as a staff member who pulled them out of the water, the spokesman said, indicating an autopsy would take place on Thursday.

"What we are investigating is why they had trouble getting out of the water."

The alarm was raised at 1.30pm on Tuesday when all three were still in the water, unconscious.

But when the emergency services arrived, they were unable to revive them.

Police had examined the pool's filters to see if the girl had somehow been sucked in by the water purification system, the spokesman said, indicating that investigators had not ruled out any hypothesis.

The pool reopened on Thursday, according to footage shown on Spanish national television.

In a posting on Facebook, the resort 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.

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