Women Die In Flooded Van Driven By South Carolina Deputies

2 patients drown as van swept into floodwaters

Tuesday night, with the van still underwater, state police were on the way to the scene, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesperson told a local news station.

The bodies of the two women were recovered on Wednesday, almost 24 hours after the event began, from the submerged van in the Little Pee Dee River.

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

They were about halfway through the trip by 6 p.m., on Highway 76 near the Little Pee Dee River, when the van encountered the running water.

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"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", he said.

The van was attempting to cross a flooded area of Highway 76 in Marion County when it got swept away, according to cops.

Because of darkness, responders decided trying to retrieve the women's bodies from the van Tuesday night wasn't safe.

A Horry County Sheriff's Office van was transporting the two women, who were mental patients, from a hospital in Horry County, S.C. near the coast to a behavioral center further inland in Florence when the vehicle came about a half-mile from the Little Pee Dee River, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

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Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems.

"This is the first time ever we had an event like this", Thompson said. The deputies transporting them managed to escape, but the women were unable to do so.

Sixteen North Carolina rivers were at major flood stage Tuesday, with an additional three forecast to peak by Thursday.

Aides say President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday to see the damage from Florence.

The deputies were transporting the women to a facility in SC were saved, ABC News reported. "Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle". The vehicle, staffed by two Horry County Sheriff's Office deputies, was transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington.

We are working hand-in-hand with the State Law Enforcement Division to cooperate in this investigation.

In all, Hurricane Florence has contributed to at least 37 deaths, including at least 27 in North Carolina, officials say.

"I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out", Thompson said. In March, Christopher Bennett died after eating drugs and suffering medical issues, a SLED investigation found.

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