Family of Six Drowns Fleeing Hurricane Harvey Floods

Great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar, and their great-grandchildren aged 6-16 died when their van was swept away on a flooded Houston street on Monday

"No sleep & anxiety, please let this pass sooner", wrote 16-year-old Devy Saldivar on Facebook at about 5:30 a.m. on August 27.

"They were driving, and he said as soon as he got over the bridge and started making that turn, the current just lifted up the van and started pointing it towards, you know, into the water", Virginia Saldivar, Ric Saldivar's wife, said in a separate interview. He saw the children screaming inside and told them to get out, but the auto sank too quickly.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the van is in about 10 feet (3 meters) of muddy water in Green's Bayou in northeast Houston. Virginia Saldivar said her brother-in-law could only watch as the van disappeared under water.

Prior to the gruesome find Wednesday, family members said the mother of the children went back to the scene of the tragedy in a boat in a desperate attempt to find them.

By the time deputies got to Sammy, there was no sign of the rest of the Saldivars and little chance they had survived.

"That keeps playing in his head", Ric said.

"The water picked the van up, and it was just floating after that", another relative, uncle Ric Saldivar, told KTRK.


Although the driver - the children's great-uncle - was able to escape the auto before it went under water, the rest of the family was unable to make it out, KHOU 11 reported. Obviously they are devastated as we all are as well.

"He said, 'Climb to the top, go out the back door, '" he said. A dive team is said to be en route to Greens Bayou to search for additional bodies.

A family of six trying to escape the floodwaters produced by Harvey has been counted among the 14 victims who died in the historic storm, authorities said.

Saldivar believes her husband's parents, Manuel Saldivar, 84, and Belia Saldivar, 81, drowned along with her grandchildren: Daisy, Xavier, Dominic and Devy.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sammy and his family. "I hope they are safe and sound and got out of the floodwaters". Relatives said they could not really begin to grieve until it was found and their worst fears were confirmed. "He loved his family and he would defend them against anything", she said.

"Finding my babies", she said, "that's my ultimate goal". "I haven't slept. I'm scared to go to sleep because I see them".

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