Florence: Two patients dead after van swept away in floods

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Two women in the back of a sheriff's van drowned Tuesday evening when deputies tried to drive down a SC road flooded by tropical storm Florence.

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.

"They're still under the water", he said.

The Lumber River as of September 19 was still in "major" flood stage in several places, according to the National Weather Service.

The incident brings Florence's death toll to 37.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office transport van was still in the water as of about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, WPDE reported. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'.

Cooper warned locals that the flooding isn't over yet. "I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out".

As the van traveled down U.S. 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. "People need to know exactly how it happened".

Aides say President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday to see the damage.

It is not immediately clear why such a transfer was attempted given the preponderance of flooding in the area due to Hurricane Florence. The vehicle, staffed by two Horry County Sheriff's Office deputies, was transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington. Richardson says the women were being transported from a hospital in Horry County to medical facilities in Florence and Darlington.

"A Horry County Sheriff's Office transportation vehicle was involved in a high-water incident tonight". 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. Earlier Wednesday, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson had identified Newton with a different last name.

We are working hand-in-hand with the State Law Enforcement Division to cooperate in this investigation.

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