Harvey Tragedy: Missing family in van, swept away by floodwaters, found

According to KTRK-TV, Manuel Saldivar attempted to drive his parents and four children away from the flooding when the van was caught in rushing floodwaters Sunday on Greens Bayou.

The van in which an elderly couple and their four grandchildren were riding when the vehicle was swept away Sunday by Tropical Storm Harvey's floodwaters has been found, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, Texas, said Wednesday.

"She's a mom - she just wants to find her kids", the children's aunt, Esmeralda Saldivar, told NBC News. But his father yelled at him to keep going, his brother, Ric Saldivar, said.

Sammy made it across the bridge only to encounter a dip in the road on the other side, Ric Saldivar said, recalling what his brother told him.

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Saldivar managed to wriggle out of his seat belt and escape the sinking van through a half-open window, he told family members. As thousands of others around the Houston area similarly sought refuge from the unrelenting wrath of Harvey, he drove over a waterlogged bridge heading over Greens Bayou in eastern Houston, encouraged by his father to do so in spite of the apparent danger of the waters. The storm, and the massive deluge of rains that it has brought, have inundated the city of Houston with floods the like of which officials say they haven't seen before.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, as the waters in Houston continued to rise, 16-year-old Devy Saldivar wrote on Facebook, "no sleep & anxiety, please let this pass sooner". "He called it a twig", Ric said. "And the van just went underwater and was gone".

The grim discovery ended three days of anguished waiting for the Saldivar family, who had given up hope the missing six would be found alive but who were desperate to recover the bodies. Belia and Manuel Saldivar would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in October. Sammy didn't have much time to think.

He added: "I can already imagine Dad holding Mum's hand real tight as the water rushed in".

  • Adam Floyd