A relative of six Texas family members who are presumed dead after being trapped in a van in Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters broke down in tears during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett
“Four children, their great grandparents — presumed dead after their van was swept away while trying to evacuate,” CNN host Erin Burnett solemnly explained. “The oldest child, Devy Saldivar was 16-years-old, Dominic Saldivar was 14-years-old, Xavier Saldivar was 8-years-old and Daisy Saldivar — the youngest — she was six. Their great grandparents, 84-year-old Manuel Saldivar and his wife Belia, was 81.”
Burnett interviewed the brother of the sole-survivor, who was driving his parents at the time of the tragedy.
“As the water came up on them in the van, I know they were holding hands. They went to heaven holding hands,” the bereft Salvidar explained.
“He was trying to do the right thing to get them out of the flood up on higher ground and trying to bring them over to my house and it just didn’t happen,” Ric Saldivar explained.
Saldivar’s brother, Sammy, had moved down from Missouri to take care of their parents, who were both suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“The van was just bopping in the water — that’s how deep the water was — and he could hear the kids screaming and crying trying to get out of the van,” Saldivar continued.
His brother managed to make it out of the van and survived by clinging to a branch.
“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. I don’t know who heard him, but the Sheriffs Department went over there in a boat and they literally threw him in a lifeline,” Saldivar explained. “He was very upset, very distraught distraught. The van had been underwater for 45 minutes, so there was no way, you know, they survived.”
Saldivar choked up when asked about his great niece Daisy.
“She was just adorable, always laughing. you couldn’t help but laugh…” he trailed off as he started to weep.
“You don’t expect, you know, one kid to go, much less four, you know,” Saldivar said. “So we’re trying to help with the funeral arrangements because my brother and his wife, they weren’t prepared for this.”
“I mean, who would be? Saldivar said. “So we’re just trying to help each other, you know, get through this.”
Watch the emotional interview: