Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to move inmates despite prison evacuations in Virginia and North Carolina.
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office says search-and-rescue teams responded late Tuesday to a report of a body just south of Fayetteville.
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.
Though Florence weakened to a tropical storm later on Friday and to a tropical depression afterwards, it caused severe flooding and damage.
The deputies in the van were rescued and taken to the hospital, according to our source, but the patients were chained in the back of the van.
That's according to documents obtained from the State Law Enforcement Division concerning 45-year-old Windy Wenton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green.
Holden said that deputies tried to get the victims out but couldn't.
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Sixteen North Carolina rivers were at major flood stage Tuesday, with an additional three forecast to peak by Thursday.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday visited North Carolina, which is bearing the brunt of Florence's deadly deluge and where rivers are still rising while thousands of homes and roadways remain submerged.
"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported", a statement from the Horry County sheriff's office noted.
Two Horry County deputies were driving a van carrying the two women in the back on Tuesday night when it was overtaken by floodwaters in Marion County. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, but Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist. Their names have not been released. "Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle".
Richardson said the incident happened on Pee Dee Island Road off U.S. Highway 76 outside of Nichols.
Rivers are still rising in SC and will continue throughout the week, the state's Emergency Response Team said Wednesday morning. "I am not sure if it was the way the van was positioned against the guardrail or it was pressure from the water".
Forecasters predict some rivers in the northeastern area of the state might not reach their highest levels until later this week or next week.