Sur­vivor saw van sink with his fam­ily

The West Australian - - NEWS -

When two sher­iff’s deputies found him cling­ing to a tree, wa­ter up to his neck, Sa­muel Sal­divar was dis­traught and in tears, de­scrib­ing how he watched a van car­ry­ing his elderly par­ents and his brother’s grand­chil­dren sink into Greens Bayou.

Af­ter his par­ents’ Hous­ton home be­gan to flood early on Sun­day, Mr Sal­divar bor­rowed his brother’s van and drove to pick up the rel­a­tives. He told deputies that while cross­ing a bridge, a strong cur­rent lifted the van and pitched it for­ward into a drainage chan­nel.

He climbed out of the driver’s win­dow but the van’s slid­ing door was par­tially sub­merged and would not open, his sis­terin-law Vir­ginia Sal­divar said.

He yelled at the chil­dren to try to es­cape from the back of the van, but they were un­able to do so.

Ms Sal­divar said her broth­erin-law could only watch as the van dis­ap­peared un­der wa­ter.

She be­lieves her hus­band’s par­ents, Manuel Sal­divar, 84, and Belia Sal­divar, 81, drowned along with her grand­chil­dren Daisy, Xavier, Do­minic and Devy.

The Har­ris County Sher­iff’s Of­fice could not con­firm the deaths be­cause no bod­ies had been re­cov­ered, Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.

“The wa­ter lev­els are so high, we can’t find any­thing,” he said.

Pho­tos with pleas for help in find­ing the miss­ing are be­ing posted and retweeted by the thou­sands as des­per­ate fam­ily mem­bers seek loved ones who they fear might be dead.

The fam­ily of Ruben Jor­dan, a 58-year-old re­tired foot­ball and track coach from a Hous­ton high school, posted pleas on Twit­ter and Face­book for 48 hours be­fore they were told he was found dead on Tues­day.

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