'He could hear kids screaming': Survivor haunted after trapped relatives swept away

05 September 2017, 06:49 | Santos Harmon

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

Great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar, and their great-grandchildren aged 6-16 died when their van was swept away on a flooded Houston street on Monday

Hiser-Jackson said the rest of her family members in Texas are evacuating their homes and heading to a shelter in the Houston area.

On Sunday, a family of six drowned while trying to escape Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters.

Gonzalez says bodies of two adults were recovered from the front seat and the four children were found in the back.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Jason Spencer had told the Houston Press on Monday that, after rescuing Saldivar, deputies returned to search for the van or bodies in the water, but could not find the van or the family. Relatives told NBC News the driver had just crossed a bridge over a swollen bayou. Shortly after the van was submerged, police rescued a lone survivor - Sammy Saldivar, who had escaped from the vehicle and clung to a branch. He told everyone to get out of the van using the back door, but the van quickly sank, KHOU reported.

As of Monday, the Saldivars are among at least 14 dead, though that number will nearly undoubtely go up as the water recedes and the true impact of the storm becomes known.

He also suggested that Sammy stop by the house across the street and collect Manuel and Belia's great-grandchildren: Devy, 15-year-old Dominic, 8-year-old Xavier and 6-year-old Daisy.

Virginia Saldivar said she lives in the same neighbourhood as her relatives, but she and her husband left during a calm spell Saturday to watch the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

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The water was so deep the van bobbed up and down.

"Sammy told me he panicked and he got scared".

"I can already imagine Dad holding Mom's hand real tight as the water rushed in", he said. "A big goof" and a delight to all who saw her, Catherine said.

"Just knowing their words of comfort was enough to get me through the day today", Ms. Salazar said.

More than 30 people have died, including a Houston police officer who drowned in his auto while driving to work.

Gonzalez said that the family was "very traumatized not only from the events we've all experienced, but obviously a very personal loss for them". The children were good kids, Ms. Salazar and Mr. Gonzales said. "I just keep thinking no matter how bad I feel, I know my brother Sammy is that much worse because he was right there and couldn't do nothing about it".

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