SC 'detainees' drown as sheriff's department van is swept into floodwaters

SC 'detainees' drown as sheriff's department van is swept into floodwaters

Initial reports suggested that the victims were inmates, but officials have clarified that they were mental patients.

Holden says the deputies tried to get the detainees out but couldn't open the doors. The women weren't identified.

Two sheriff deputies left two women to drown in the back of a police transport van in SC on Tuesday when the van was overcome by flood waters from Hurricane Florence, a local ABC affiliate, WPDE reported.

Thompson said he did not think the women were in restraints in the back of the van, noting that restraints are used for combative patients "and I understand they were not".

Recovery efforts were underway Wednesday, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

"Tonight's incident was a tragedy", Horry County sheriff Phillip Thompson said. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

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

"They're still under the water", Richardson told The Associated Press early Wednesday.

More miles of I-95 in SC closed due to flooding | The Herald Sun

Several roads in the area were closed due to flooding. Flood stage for the Little Pee Dee is 9 feet.

The death toll from Florence rose to 37 in three states, the AP report noted.

Cooper warned that the flooding is far from over and will get worse in places. "People need to know exactly how it happened".

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, arrived in storm-ravaged North Carolina on Wednesday and helped volunteers at a church in the hard-hit coastal town of New Bern. "Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence - and they are 100% correct", he tweeted.

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.

In South Carolina, just south of the North Carolina border, I-95 travels through especially low-lying swamp land, and over the Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers.

The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported.

The two deputies were rescued by high water rescue teams. Richardson, who serves as coroner in adjacent Marion County, confirmed their deaths that night, but authorities had to leave the bodies and van in the water until conditions were less hazardous.

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