Women chained in police van drown in Hurricane Florence floods

Women chained in police van drown in Hurricane Florence floods

The Horry County Sheriff's Office was driving the women to a mental health facility in SC on Tuesday night, September 18, when the van was overcome with floodwaters near U.S. Highway 76 and Pee Dee Island Road in Marion County.

Heading from Conway west on US 76, the transport van with two deputies was about a half mile from the Little Pee Dee River when it encountered the high water, the news release said.

Two deputies tried to help the victims, but the floodwater rapidly rose and the deputies couldn't open the doors, according to the sheriff's office.

By the time a rescue team arrived, the deputies were stranded on top of the van and it was too late for the women.

"Tonight's incident is a tragedy", Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in Tuesday's statement.

Answering a question as to why the women were moved amid Hurricane Florence, Thompson said it was protocol.

They had to suspend recovery efforts due to rising water.

The two individuals being transported were confirmed dead by the Marion County Coroner. They trusted the hospitals and the Sheriff Deputies with their lives and that trust was abused.

According to CNN affiliate WPDE, the women were being transported from a hospital in Loris and from the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Conway to McLeod Health Darlington, Fox said.

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Speaking to the Associated Press, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson said, "They're both still under the water".

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

"We are sorry", Thompson said". "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place". He said the two deputies involved had been placed on administrative leave and he had launched an internal investigation. "It's come up 2 feet since just last night".

Harrowing police scanner audio provides details of the efforts to save the women, who could be heard talking as rescuers scrambled to save them.

She said her mother was a trusting person who was betrayed by the deputies.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted pictures on Monday of prisoners preparing to defend their facilities from flooding.

State officials in North Carolina now say 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs have been killed in flooding from Florence.

The van was traveling west on USA 76 east of Nichols about 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Newton had posted on her Facebook page that she previously had been hospitalized for mental illness.

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