05 September, 2017
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that the family's relatives returned to their home after the water started subsiding and saw the van as it became visible.
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Saldivar climbed out of the driver-side window but the van's sliding door was partially submerged and would not open, Virginia Saldivar said.
The Harris County sheriff's office confirmed in a tweet that it had rescued Sammy Saldivar and that he had told them the van was swept away before his eyes, but they could not confirm any other details.
"She's a mom - she just wants to find her kids", the children's aunt, Esmeralda Saldivar, told NBC News.
A few hours later, her great-uncle, Manuel "Sammy" Saldivar, tried to rescue the family when floodwaters engulfed his van, reports the New York Post.
"The water picked the van up, and it was just floating after that", the children's uncle Ric Saldivar told ABC 13. "He loved anything Army and playing video games", she said of her grandchildren. Sammy didn't have much time to think.
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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.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, four children, Daisy Saldivar, 6, Xavier Saldivar, 8, Dominic Saldivar, 14, Devy Saldivar, 16, and their great-grandparents, Manuel Saldivar, 84, and wife Belia Saldivar, 81, died Sunday when their van was swept away while crossing a bridge in Greens Bayou.
The water was so deep the van bobbed up and down.
"They basically let us know they're not going to be able to do anything until the water goes down", Ric said. "I'm sure they couldn't reach it", Ric said.
The children's mother had been trying to get a boat ride so she could go to the bayou herself and look for them.
"I talked to the Sheriff's Department since then and they told me that he was hanging on to the branch for like 45 minutes screaming for help".
"These kids lived across the street from us and we would see them everyday".
"Sammy said, 'Well, maybe I should go back, ' " Ric said.