Women chained in police van drown in Hurricane Florence floods

South Carolina Floodwaters

Horry County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Brooke Holden said that a sheriff's office van was carrying two "detainees" and two deputies to Darlington when it was overtaken by floodwaters.

Two mental health patients have been killed after the HCSO transport van they were in was overcome with flood waters, according to an Horry County official in SC.

The two individuals being transported were confirmed dead by the Marion County coroner.

That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

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. The sheriff's office didn't immediately confirm that was the case for that van.

Officials said the van was near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water state officials were watching following the heavy rains of Florence.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said the bodies of 45-year-old Windy Newton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green were recovered from the van Wednesday evening.

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The incident is under investigation and the deputies are on administrative leave.

High-water rescue teams arrived and were able to rescue the two deputies from the top of the van, according to the statement. Flood has worked at the sheriff's office for 10 years, and Bishop was hired six years ago, according to Thompson.

Thompson told reporters that deputies appear to have driven around a barrier blocking the road but the investigation is ongoing. "Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors", the statement reads.

One report said they were inmates. "I am not sure if it was the way the van was positioned against the guardrail or it was pressure from the water. They tried for a long period of time".

"They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out", said the coroner, Jerry Richardson.

The patients were being transported from Loris Hospital Waccamaw Center for Mental Health to McLeod Health, which runs multiple facilities in the region, according to WPDE.

SLED, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Horry County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident.

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