2 dead after van swept away in S. Carolina amid Florence flooding

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2 dead after van swept away in S. Carolina amid Florence flooding

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

The deputies who were transporting the two women to a different facility in SC were saved, local law enforcement officials told ABC News late Tuesday. When a high-water rescue team arrived on the scene, the 2 sheriffs were on top of the van and the women still inside, dead.

Neither woman was handcuffed or restrained, Richardson said.

"Tonight's incident was a tragedy", Horry County sheriff Phillip Thompson said.

Thompson said it took rescue crews about 45 minutes to find the van and get to it via boat.

US President Donald Trump visited storm-ravaged North Carolina on Wednesday, while the state's governor, Roy Cooper, pleaded with thousands of evacuees not to return home just yet, warning the flooding is far from over and will get worse in some places.

Recovery efforts were underway Wednesday, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Thompson says the van submerged and the deputies weren't able to save the women from the back.

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

Richardson said the incident happened on Pee Dee Island Road off U.S. Highway 76 outside of Nichols.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", Cooper said.

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

The deputies were transporting Green and Newton based on court orders from the staff at Waccamaw Center for Mental Health and a mental-health center in Loris, Thompson said.

Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to move inmates despite prison evacuations in Virginia and North Carolina. The vehicle, staffed by two Horry County Sheriff's Office deputies, was transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington.

Several roads in the area were closed due to flooding. The deputies transporting them managed to escape, but the women were unable to do so.

Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson tells The Associated Press that 45-year-old Windy Wenton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green were being transported by a Horry County Sheriff's Office van between Nichols and Mullins on Tuesday night when the van was swept away by rising waters.

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. In March, Christopher Bennett died after eating drugs and suffering medical issues, a SLED investigation found.

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