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

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

Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed that they've located a missing van days after it was swept away by Harvey's flooding, and two of the six passengers were found dead inside the vehicle.

A family of six drowned in a van Sunday afternoon while trying to escape the floods of Hurricane Harvey, relatives tell KHOU 11 News.

Samuel Saldivar had been driving his relatives to safety when rising floodwaters suddenly "overcame" their van, according to CBS affiliate KHOU-TV, which first reported the tragedy in northern Harris County, Texas.

"The road dipped down after the bridge and that's when the water picked the van up", Saldivar said.

While the driver managed to get out and tried telling the children to escape through a back door, witnesses told KHOU, they were left trapped inside as the van sank.

By today, the water level had gone down, allowing the white van to be recovered, the sheriff's office said. By the time he got to dry land, the vehicle had disappeared, he said.

"He was yelling at the kids to come out of the back of the van", Saldivar said.

Sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday, parts of the Houston region will probably break the almost 40-year-old US record for the biggest rainfall from a tropical system - 48 inches (120 centimeters) - set by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978 in Texas, meteorologists said. The children are 16-year-old Devy, 14-year-old Dominic, 8-year-old Xavier and 6-year-old Daisy, according to the page, which says it was set up by Houston dentist Terri Alani. Witnesses told the station that emergency crews in the area were not able to reach the van in time to rescue the six inside. Sammy was able to crawl through the driver's side window and grabbed a branch until he was rescued 45 minutes later.

Speaking to NBC News, Virginia Saldivar called her grandchildren "the sweetest kids".

"I can already imagine Dad holding Mom's hand real tight as the water rushed in", Ric told CNN.

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