A Houston family's worst fears were confirmed Wednesday when a van swept away by Hurricane Harvey floodwaters — carrying an elderly couple and four great-grandchildren — was apparently found submerged in a bayou.

"We could briefly look into the van and see at least two bodies that are in there," said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Police divers were on their way to the Greens Bayou, and the medical examiner was on the scene, waiting to confirm the victims' identities. Chaplains were en route to comfort relatives gathered on a nearby bridge.

"They're very saddened, obviously," Gonzalez said. "They've been very traumatized."

The grim discovery ended three days of anguished waiting for the Saldivar family, who had given up hope the missing six would be found alive but who were desperate to recover the bodies.

The tragedy happened Sunday afternoon as Sammy Saldivar was trying to drive flooded-out relatives to dry ground.

In the van with him were his parents, 84-year-old Manuel and 81-year-old Belia, both Alzheimer's patients, and the great-grandchildren, who ranged in age from 16 to 8.

Relatives told NBC News that Sadivar 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.

Saldivar managed to wriggle out of his seat belt and escape the sinking van through a half-open window, he told family members. He grabbed onto a tree branch and urged the others to try to escape.

"He could hear the kids screaming and crying, trying to get out of the van," his brother, Ricardo Saldivar, told NBC News on Tuesday.

"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."

Relatives told NBC News that Sadivar 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.

Saldivar managed to wriggle out of his seat belt and escape the sinking van through a half-open window, he told family members. He grabbed onto a tree branch and urged the others to try to escape.

"He could hear the kids screaming and crying, trying to get out of the van," his brother, Ricardo Saldivar, told NBC News on Tuesday.

"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."