Family of 6 drowned inside van while trying to escape Harvey floods

Family of 6 drowns inside van while trying to escape Harvey floods

On the morning of August 27, shortly after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Devy posted about the storm on Facebook writing, "No sleep & anxiety, please let this pass sooner".

A few hours after her plea, her great-uncle, Sammy, tried to drive all of them to safety when violent floodwaters engulfed their van near the Greens Bayou, relatives told NBC News. Saldivar said she has not yet told the children's father, her son, who she says is in prison for violating parole. "It went head-first in, and water came in real fast".

"He's still blaming himself", Ric Saldivar said. Three family members confirmed the story to KHOU 11 News, even as many of them are just learning of the news.

By the time deputies got to Sammy, there was no sign of the rest of the Saldivars and little chance they had survived. "The neighbors woke him up", Ric said. "He loved anything Army and playing video games", she said. Shortly after the van was submerged, police rescued a lone survivor - Sammy Saldivar, who had escaped from the vehicle and clung to a branch.

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Harvey weakened to a tropical depression on Wednesday night, the US National Hurricane Center said, but warned that "catastrophic and life threatening flooding will continue in and around Houston, Beaumont/Port Arthur, eastward into southwest Louisiana for the rest of the week". Sammy stopped at another relative's home to pick up Devy, 16, Dominic, 14, Xavier, 8, and 6-year-old Daisy.

"My brother-in-law saw the van go under the water", she said.

Family and friends of the Saldivar family have stepped up to help them offset funeral costs.

"Four children, their great grandparents - presumed dead after their van was swept away while trying to evacuate", CNN host Erin Burnett solemnly explained.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sammy and his family.

"Unfortunately it seems that our worst thoughts have been realized", Gonzalez told the paper. "He was trying to do the right thing to get them out of the flood ... and it just happened".

"They both have Alzheimer's", he said.

"He was yelling at the kids to climb out of the back of the van; I'm sure they couldn't reach it", Ric said.

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Ms. Salazar, who works at Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, said her co-workers provided strong support.

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