Monday, 10 December, 2018

Shallotte woman killed when Horry Co. transport van caught in flood

South Carolina Floodwaters South Carolina Floodwaters
Ben Pena | 23 September, 2018, 03:25

Recovery efforts were underway Wednesday, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

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.

Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to move inmates despite prison evacuations in Virginia and North Carolina.

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.

The van was traveling west on US 76 east of Nichols about 5 p.m. on Tuesday. "Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence - and they are 100% correct", he tweeted.

"They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out", he told AP.

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

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Cumberland County Sheriff's Office says search-and-rescue teams responded late Tuesday to a report of a body just south of Fayetteville. Thompson said his office would cooperate with the probe. The sheriff's office didn't immediately confirm that was the case for that van.

The death toll from storm Florence has risen to at least 37 in the US East Coast, including two mental health patients drowned in a van overtaken by floodwaters, the media reported on Wednesday.

"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported", a statement from the Horry County sheriff's office noted.

Two deputies tried to help the victims, but the floodwater rapidly rose and the deputies couldn't open the doors, according to the sheriff's office. At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered.

Neither woman was handcuffed or restrained, Richardson said. Officials say the van was traveling near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water officials in SC are watching closely as water continues to poor into the state from upriver in North Carolina following the heavy rains of Florence.

The van couldn't be removed Tuesday night because of rising waters and unsafe conditions, according to the release.

Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.

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