6 found dead in van swept away by flooding, bringing Harvey death toll even higher: Officials

The van was purportedly carrying six family members.

— -- Six people were found dead in a van that was recovered today after it became stuck in swift-moving floodwaters Sunday morning, officials said today.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said that van had been "purportedly carrying six family members Sunday" when it was "inundated by Greens Bayou flooding."

The death toll stands at 31 as of late Wednesday night, according to The Associated Press. Six more deaths -- unrelated to those found in the submerged van -- were confirmed at 10 p.m. Wednesday by Harris County officials.

The sheriff's office explained Wednesday that on Sunday at about 10 a.m., officers conducting evacuations and rescue efforts heard someone screaming in the distance.

Officers found a man clinging to a tree and used a rope to rescue him. That man told authorities he was with several family members inside a white van, but the van was submerged and it was not visible, the sheriff's office said. The van was at least 4 feet underwater and the water was moving at 7 mph, the sheriff's office said.

By Wednesday, the water level had gone down, allowing the white van to be recovered, the sheriff's office said.

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