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

Water from The Little Pee Dee River floods business and washes out part of Rte. 301

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

The van was attempting to cross a flooded area of Highway 76 in Marion County when it got swept away, according to cops.

"They're still under the water", Richardson told the AP on Wednesday morning.

The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is now investigating the matter, according to the report.

Rescue teams were able to save the deputies from the van's roof, but they could not pull the vehicle from the water because it was too risky, according to the release.

Horry County Deputy Tom Fox told WPDE-TV the victims were mental health patients being transported from one facility to another. Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems.

The river stands at more than 14 feet and is expected to reach 15.6 feet by Thursday night. Thompsons said his office would cooperate with the probe.

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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".

"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported", the news release said. Once the bodies are recovered, they'll be transported to the Medical University of SC for autopsies, he said.

State police spokesman Thom Berry told the AP on Wednesday that agents were on the scene aiding in the recovery effort. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered".

WLTX reports that the two deputies were transporting the two patients to McLeod Behavorial Health in Darlington.

A resident surveys a road inundated by water in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence. "People need to know exactly how it happened".

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 Horry County Sheriff's Office transportation vehicle was involved in a high-water incident tonight. It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place".

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