A relative of a Texas family that perished in the floods resulting from Hurricane Harvey tried to comfort his surviving brother after six of their family members drowned in Houston’s flood waters.
At least 30 people have died or are suspected to have died, mostly from drowning inside their flooded vehicles, as Hurricane Harvey left the area Wednesday morning.
Ric Saldivar told KTVI he felt slightly comforted by his brother Sammy’s account of his attempt to save their elderly parents and four children ranging in age from six to 16 before the van got swept away by the flood waters.
Sammy Saldivar told his brother that their parents held hands while riding in the car, something that gave Ric a small amount of hope that their parents are at least in a better place.
“I can already imagine Dad holding Mom’s hand real tight as the water rushed in,” he said. “I know they went to heaven holding hands.”
Sammy packed his parents and their four great-grandchildren into a van Sunday as water levels rose quickly around their northeast Texas home.
Sammy said he wanted to turn around, but his 84-year-old father, Manuel Saldivar, insisted that he keep going as he approached a water-logged bridge.
“Dad tells you to do something, you do it,” Ric Saldivar said, adding that it was how he and his brother were raised.
Sammy successfully made it across the bridge, but he did not expect a dip in the road once he got to the other side of the bridge and lost control of the van. The van went straight into the bayou with Sammy and all six passengers trapped inside.
Sammy was able to escape through the driver’s side window and held onto a branch, but his six other family members were not so lucky.
He yelled at his family members to climb out the back of the van, but they never made it.
Ric, meanwhile, said all he can do is comfort his brother and grieve for the family members lost in the flood.
“He’s still blaming himself,” Ric Saldivar said. “He was trying to do the right thing to get them out of the flood … and it just happened.”
The van was recovered Wednesday by authorities. “We have a total confirmed six dead at the scene,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.