Van Carrying Houston Family Swept Away By Floodwater Is Found

Posted August 31, 2017

Update 4:50 p.m. August 28: The Harris County Sheriff's Office said on Monday afternoon that it was not immediately able to confirm a report that a family of six was swept away by floodwaters and killed on Sunday.

Police say the elderly couple's son Samuel "Sammy" Saldivar, told them he was driving eastbound on Green River Rd. near John Ralston Rd. when rising water in Greens Bayou overcame the van in which they were traveling and swallowed everyone except the driver.

"We could briefly look into the van and see at least two bodies that are in there", said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Witnesses told the station the van had crossed a bridge in northeast Houston when it was hit with major flooding, which caused the van to be swept away.

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Hanging onto a tree branch, he tried to rescue the others but couldn't before the van was swept away, they said.

Sammy Saldivar had driven to pick up the four children and his parents, and hoped to bring them to higher ground. Sammy lost control and the van went nose-first into the bayou with the family trapped inside.

Saldivar managed to wriggle out of his seat belt and escape the sinking van through a half-open window, he told family members.

"When he climbed out of the van he said he could hear the kids screaming and yelling, they wanted to get out, so and that keeps playing in his head", Ric said.

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The six people in the van were identified only as an 81-year-old woman and her 84-year-old husband; two girls, ages 16 and 6; and two boys, ages 14 and 8.

Police divers were on their way to the Greens Bayou, and the medical examiner was on the scene, waiting to confirm the victims' identities.

The bodies have not yet been recovered. "I know they went to heaven holding hands". "He was trying to do the right thing to get them out of the flood. and it just happened".

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