Two detainees in sheriff's van drown in South Carolina floodwaters

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According to Chief Deputy Tom Fox with the Horry County Sheriff Office, two Horry County Sheriff deputies were transporting two mental health patients to McLeod Behavorial Health in Darlington. He said the two deputies involved had been placed on administrative leave and he had launched an internal investigation. The women weren't identified.

The Marion County coroner has identified the two women who drowned in a Horry County sheriff's van on Tuesday night. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event". 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'. One patient was from Waccamaw Mental Health and the other was from Loris Hospital.

The Lumber River as of September 19 was still in "major" flood stage in several places, according to the National Weather Service.

Floodwaters in North Carolina were still quite high as of September 19.

The SCDOT added the driver of the vehicle had to go around a barrier to get stuck where they were.

The incident brings Florence's death toll to 37.

Cooper warned locals that the flooding isn't over yet.

President Donald Trump is slated to visit North Carolina on September 19 to see the damage.

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North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of Hurricane Florence evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet. Richardson says the women were being transported from a hospital in Horry County to medical facilities in Florence and Darlington.

"Tonight's incident is a tragedy".

Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said Wednesday he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.

WPDE reported that it happened in Horry County on Highway 917 Tuesday night as the van was in still water on Pee Dee Island Road near the bridge.

"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported".

"Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van", Thompson said.

By the time a rescue team arrived, the deputies were stranded on top of the van and it was too late for the women. At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle can not be removed due to rising waters and unsafe conditions. They remained in the van as of early Wednesday, and Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson said authorities would not be able to retrieve their bodies until at least noon. "This incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED)".

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