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Police recover bodies of elderly couple, grandchildren found inside van swept away by flood

(Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office)
HARRIS COUNTY, TX (KXXV) -

A van that was reportedly swept away during by Harvey flooding with six family members still trapped inside has been found, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Wednesday.

The van was carrying an elderly couple in their 80s and four great-grandchildren all under the age of 16, deputies said.  It was found in the 11400 block of Ley Road at Greens Bayou in Harris County. 

On Sunday around 10 a.m., deputies were conducting evacuation assistance when they heard a man screaming in the distance. They went towards the man and saw him clinging to a tree. Deputies then used a rope to rescue him.

The man said he was with several family members inside a white van that had become submerged into the water. The man, identified as Sammy Saldivar, was driving and was able to escape the van but could not rescue anyone else, according to the Houston Chronicle

Gonzalez said the van was not visible at this time as it was at least four feet under water. Based on these conditions, deputies were not able to retrieve the van or the people inside of it at the time.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office was alerted that the water has subsided some, and the white van was located. Gonzalez said they could see at least two bodies when deputies briefly looked through the windows, but based on the angle, they could not see any other bodies inside of the van.

The Houston Police Department is assisting in recovering the bodies. 

The children were identified as students at Pasadena ISD in a statement made by the district on Monday night. 

"Pasadena ISD's heart is heavy as we have learned that four Pasadena ISD students and two of their great-grandparents were swept away by floodwaters of Greens Bayou while trying to escape the floodwaters of Harvey," the statement said. 

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