Two die in flooded sheriff's transport van

Two die in flooded sheriff's transport van

The Marion County coroner has identified the two women who drowned in a Horry County sheriff's van on Tuesday night.

Horry County Deputy Tom Fox told WPDE-TV the victims were mental health patients being transported from one facility to another.

Officials say the van was traveling near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water officials in SC are watching closely as water continues to poor into the state from upriver in North Carolina following the heavy rains of Florence.

Thompson said it took rescue crews about 45 minutes to find the van and get to it via boat. The inmates have not been recovered.

"At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle can not be removed due to rising waters and unsafe conditions", the sheriff's office said.

"Once those orders are issued, we don't place those people in a detention centre", Thompson said.

'Tonight's incident is a tragedy, ' he said.

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Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered", he said. Richardson says the women were being transported from a hospital in Horry County to medical facilities in Florence and Darlington. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

The coroner in neighboring Marion County confirmed the two deceased patients were female, and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident, according to the statement.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", he said. Two deputies were in the van with them, though Wenton and Green were in the back.

Investigators are in the early stages of conducting interviews and gathering evidence, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.

Though in this case, it's possible Florence isn't to blame so much as the officers transporting the two women and the department that waited so long to relocate them.

According to information from SCDOT's Twitter, I-95 is being closed at mile marker 175 in both directions due to high water levels at the bridges crossing the Great Pee Dee River. It could have been water pressure or the way the van was resting against a guard rail, he said. First responders decided not to continue rescue operations at the scene because of the conditions, Thompson said.

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