The death toll from Hurricane Harvey continues to rise, and Selena Quintanilla's family is among those affected by the devastation. The fallen Tejano star's father, Abraham Quintanilla, took to Facebook to share the heartbreaking details of how their relatives died while trying to escape the flood waters.
"The family that drowned in Houston, Texas were related to me," he wrote.
"Manuel Saldivar, his wife Belia and four of their grandkids, left their flooded house to go somewhere where there was safety. When they crossed a bridge, a wave of water swept the van and pushed them into the bayou. The driver was saved, but Manuel, his wife, and four grandkids drowned... Manuel's mother Carolina was my father's first cousin. My condolences to their family," he added.
According to NBC News, Manuel Saldivar was 84 years old and his wife Belia was 81 years old. Both suffered from Alzheimer's. The great grandchildren who died alongside them were between 8 and 16 years of age.
Source: NBC News
The family had been missing for three days before the van was found and their bodies were recovered.
The survivor of the tragedy is the couple's son, Sammy Saldivar. His family told NBC News that he "had just crossed a bridge over the swollen bayou when the road dipped down and the vehicle was swept into the water, which was moving at five knots."
Sammy was able to remove his seatbelt and climb out of a window in the van to a tree branch for safety. He urged his family to escape but they were unable to get out of the sinking vehicle.
"He could hear the kids screaming and crying, trying to get out of the van," his brother, Ricardo Saldivar, told NBC News. "He said, 'Climb to the top, go out the back door,'" he said. "But [with] the van pointed straight down, they couldn't climb up the van, much less open the door. He just seen the van go under the water."
Sammy was rescued by deputies with a rope almost an hour after the incident. Unfortunately, it was too late for his family. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said it was a "miracle" that Sammy was saved.