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British father will ‘never stop’ fighting for answers after daughter’s death while diving in Albania | UK News

A British father whose daughter drowned while diving in Albania says he feels like her death has been “swept under the carpet” and he’ll never stop fighting for justice for her.

George Gannon, 61, told Sky News that Rebecca, 29, from Stone, in Staffordshire, was diving on an organised tour with Spiranca Diving Centre in Sarande last September when she got into difficulties.

He said he was “stunned” when he was told about her death.

“We were sitting as a family watching the funeral of the Queen when there was a knock on the door, two policemen came in and said, ‘we’ve got to tell you that your daughter died in Albania’,” he said. “I haven’t even been able to cry yet, I haven’t been able to grieve.”

George has spent most of the past 12 months in Albania trying to find out what happened, and is now about to return.

‘I’ll never stop until I get justice’

Rebecca died on her 29th dive.
Rebecca Gannon died in Albania on her 29th dive

“It’s terrible, I’ve had no help from the Albanian government, I’ve had no help from the British government whatsoever,” he said.

“I’ve just been out there on my own fighting for my daughter with no help whatsoever and when I’ve tried to contact people they just won’t speak.

“It’s like the whole situation has been swept under the carpet and it never happened, but I’ll never stop, never, never stop, until I get justice”.

Mr Gannon said Rebecca had wanted to complete 30 dives by the time she turned 30. The dive in Albania was her 29th, and her last.

He suspects that it took too long to rescue Rebecca, that her death could have been prevented, and that the spot where she died was only seven metres deep.

“She’d dived 25-30 metres and for her to die in only seven metres of water was disastrous,” he said.

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The Spiranca Diving Centre no longer appears to be operating. Pic: Spiranca Diving Centre
The Spiranca Diving Centre no longer appears to be operating. Pic: Spiranca Diving Centre

Spiranca ran diving trips in the Ionian Sea. The company no longer appears to be operating and one Albanian journalist told Sky News there had been an arrest.

Muhamed Veliu, from Top Channel TV, said: “The prosecutors charged the owner of this company, which provides scuba diving in Saranda, with breaching health and safety regulation of work.

“This is the only charge and basically he did put a surety of about £13,000 and he was released on bail.”

Mr Veliu said that under Albanian law the prosecutors have two years to conclude an investigation and decide whether to send a case to court.

“I do share the same concern with the family of Rebecca Gannon, not being informed about the speed and the stage of this investigation in Albania,” he said. “This is really a big shame for the Albanian justice system.

“Prosecutors in Albania unfortunately underestimate the importance to tell the family about the progress of the investigation, it is not like in the UK when a crime happened and police appoint a liaison officer to the family of the victim. Unfortunately, we do not have that in Albania.”

George, a former bakery owner, says it has cost him his life savings trying to fight for answers on behalf of his daughter.

The family has set up a crowd funding page on Just Giving to try to raise funds for their legal costs.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office in the UK said: “We are assisting the family of a British national who died in Albania and are in contact with the local authorities.”