Family of 6 drowns in van during attempt to flee Harvey floods

A truck pushes through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston Texas

A family of six is believed to have died after drowning in a white van Sunday afternoon while trying to escape the floods of Hurricane Harvey, relatives tell KHOU 11 News.

Floodwaters reached the roof lines of single-story homes in some areas Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues. His brother, Manuel "Sammy" Saldivar, was behind the wheel when he lost control of the vehicle.

"The water picked the van up, and it was just floating after that", family member Ric Saldivar told KTRK.

The four children are all students of Pasadena ISD.

"It's going to be better to release the water through the gates directly into Buffalo Bayou as opposed to letting it go around the end and through additional neighborhoods and ultimately into the bayou", Zetterstrom added.

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.

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By the time deputies got to Sammy, there was no sign of the rest of the Saldivars and little chance they had survived.

"We fully expect that as the water recedes that there would be some grim discoveries", Harris County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jason Spencer told the Houston Chronicle.

Panicked, Ric said Sammy was able to unbuckle his seatbelt before pulling himself out a window. The fast-moving water was strong, but somehow Sammy was able to grab onto something.

"That keeps playing in his head", Ric said. "A two-inch little branch". "She had her QuinceaƱera, and you know, it just.It's just...it's unfortunate because I don't want to ask too many questions at the moment because my aunt is trying to get out herself". I don't know if the uncle who went to go get them saw the van get swept away.

The van still has not been located, and none of their bodies have been recovered.

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