Van Carrying Houston Family Swept Away By Floodwater Is Found

People walk through the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston on Sunday

People walk through the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston on Sunday

Sally Salazar, left, and Ruben Gonzales, relatives of six people who are believed to have drowned in the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, speak during an interview at the Center for Equal Justice in Toledo Monday. He tried, but wheels underwater only spun the van, sending it off the pavement entirely and into the bayou. "They are asking for privacy", he said.

His brother Sammy had recently moved down from Missouri to care for the couple.

"What keeps going through my mind is the struggle, how they were trying to get out of the vehicle to save themselves", said Parades. Their mother had stepped out for the night before the waters rose, Ric said.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family. She lived across the street from them and saw them every day. The driver escaped, but his parents and four children were trapped.

Manuel Saldivar, 84, Belia Salvidar, 81, Daisy Saldivar, 6, Xavier Saldivar, 8, Dominic Saldivar, 14, and Devy Saldivar, 16, were inside the van when it plunged into the bayou.

Witnesses told CBS-affiliate KHOU, the van was driving down Green River Road in Greens Bayou when it hit high floods after crossing a bridge.

Sammy told his brother their parents were holding hands as they rode in the vehicle. "Sammy always listened to his daddy". "He made it across the bridge". His brother, Manuel "Sammy" Saldivar, was behind the wheel when he lost control of the vehicle.


"Dad was right", Ric said. "He got out of the seat without even undoing the seat belt, and squeezed through the window".

Rescuers on Sunday found Sammy hanging onto a tree branch but could not immediately locate the van. The children were in the back, behind a storage cage, and there was no way to get to them. He said it appeared the van was a work truck and the back section was separated by a steel screen partition. "He could hear the kids screaming, but couldn't push the doors open". Virginia Saldivar said her brother-in-law could only watch as the van disappeared under water. "Our deepest sympathy for the family".

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said relatives returned to the scene to look for signs of the van and notified authorities after spotting part of it poking above the water.

"All he could tell the sheriff is, 'The van is down there, '" Ricardo said. No deaths had been confirmed and no bodies were likely to be found until the flood subsides.

"Every time we hang up he says, 'I'm so sorry, ' like it's his fault", Ricardo Saldivar said. "I understand. It's not going to change the outcome". "It's the last thing I can do for them". Deputies then used a rope to rescue him. There, he borrowed a phone and called his brother Danny and told Danny what had happened. "He kept saying he was sorry, he was sorry", Ric said. "I told him, 'It's not your fault". It wasn't a big house, and it wasn't a wealthy neighborhood, and Manuel earned a diesel mechanic's salary most of his life - but the Saldivars prospered nonetheless.

Four children and their great-grandparents are feared dead after being swept away by rising Houston floodwaters on Sunday.

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