Two South Carolina mental health patients drowned in a prison transport van when floodwater from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence overtook the vehicle, according to the Horry County Sheriff's Office.
According to the sheriff's office, the two detainees were being transferred from Waccamaw Mental Health in Myrtle Beach and McLeod Loris Hospital in Loris to McLeod Behavioral Health in Darlington, S.C.
As the van traveled down USA 76 - about a half-mile from the Little Pee Dee River, which separates Mullins from the town of Nichols - high water swept away the vehicle.
Later, someone else reports, "We have the two deputies that are out of the van and are secure on the boat".
The Marion County Coroner has confirmed the deaths of both detainees, who have not been identified.
The deputies had been scheduled to drop off the pair at nearby hospitals and were driving near the Little Pee Dee River, which had been rapidly rising due to Florence.
We'll update as more information becomes available from our sister station WBTW. Thompson said his office would cooperate with the probe.
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The pair were being transported to a mental health facility and drowned when the vehicle was swept away in rising SC floodwaters, according to authorities.
WMBF News reporter Patrick Lloyd was first on scene and saw a heavy emergency response presence that consisted of the Horry County Sheriff's Office, Marion Sheriff's Office, the National Guard, and many other agencies.
"Tonight's incident is a tragedy", Thompson said in a statement. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, but Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is reportedly investigating the circumstances surrounding their deaths. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'. Flood stage for the Little Pee Dee is 9 feet.
Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".
Gov. Roy Cooper told a news conference Tuesday is was hard for residents to leave home, and it's even harder for them to wait to go back.
The women who died have been identified by the Marion County coroner as Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach, and Wendy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, N.C.