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Relatives are said to be “devastated” after police confirm the deaths of four children and their great-grandparents in flooding.
Police say they have recovered the bodies of six family members whose van was swept off a Houston bridge during Storm Harvey.
The van was carrying the Saldivar family when it was overtaken by violent flood waters near Greens Bayou on Sunday.
Driver Samuel Saldivar escaped through a window but was unable to rescue the other six passengers – his parents Belia Saldivar, 81, and Manuel, 84, along with their great-grandchildren Devy, 16, Dominic, 14, Xavier, 8, and Daisy, 6.
He survived by clinging onto a tree and was rescued by officers who were alerted to his shouts.
After floodwaters in the area receded, the van was spotted by family members and recovered by police. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said: “The family is devastated, we all are as well. Our worst fears have been realised.” Storm Harvey has caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and other parts of Texas, leaving billions of dollars of damage in its wake.
As Harvey bore down on her home on Sunday morning, Devy Saldivar spoke of her fears on Facebook. She posted: “No sleep & anxiety, please let this pass sooner.”
“It went headfirst in and water came in real fast,” Ric Saldivar told CNN.
“He could hear the kids screaming and crying, trying to get out of the van.
“He’s still blaming himself, he was trying to do the right thing to get them out of the flood… and it just happened.”
He added: “I can already imagine Dad holding Mum’s hand real tight as the water rushed in.
“I know they went to heaven holding hands.”