Two female mental health patients drown while chained up in police van

S Florence unleashes havoc on Carolinas
S Florence unleashes havoc on Carolinas

23 September, 2018

Horry County referred all questions about the incident - including whether the women had been locked up or were merely being transported - to state investigators, who said they had no new information to release. A sixth tornado hit Mecklenburg County, near the North Carolina border, the same day.

Fox says that the van was driving down Highway 76 in Marion county, about a half-mile from the Little Pee Dee river, when the van was overtaken by water. The Lumber River overflowed its banks following the record rains dumped by Hurricane Florence. He said the van was traveling "on road 76 into Marion County when it was overcome with flood waters".

One report said they were inmates.

Two mental health patients in SC have died after being inside a transport van that flooded.

Because of darkness, responders decided trying to retrieve the women's bodies from the van Tuesday night wasn't safe.

The Horry County Sheriff's deputies reportedly tried to open the back door of the van to release the women, but were unable to because of the rising floodwater.

Thompson also said he didn't know if the deputies had driven around any barricades blocking the roads.

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"This is the first time ever we had an event like this", Thompson said.

According to reporter Summer Dashe of WPDE TV-15 (ABC - Myrtle Beach/ Florence, S.C.), "many of the roads in (in the area) are closed because of flooding".

Newton, a mother of three who has struggled with mental illness, was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Loris earlier Tuesday after she felt that she was about to suffer "a spell", according to an article published by The New York Times.

Two deputies transporting the patients jumped into action. The Little Pee Dee River reached "major" flood stage in several spots, and forecasters believe it will continue to rise. At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had 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. State police spokesman Thom Berry told the AP on Wednesday that agents were on the scene aiding in the recovery effort.

North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of Hurricane Florence evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

In a statement to the media outlet, the Sheriff's Office says that "despite persistent and ongoing efforts", the sheriffs weren't able to free the women inside. This incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

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