Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson confirmed to AP earlier Tuesday that two women died in the incident.
Two sheriff deputies left two women to drown in the back of a police transport van in SC on Tuesday when the van was overcome by flood waters from Hurricane Florence, a local ABC affiliate, WPDE reported. One patient was from Waccamaw Mental Health and the other was from the Loris Hospital.
The two women - passengers in an Horry County sheriff's office van - were chained inside the back of the vehicle when it experienced a "high-water incident" while traveling west on Highway 76.
The sheriff's deputies survived after rescue teams arrived on the scene and brought them to safety. The inmates have not been recovered.
In a Wednesday night press conference, Thompson was asked whether or not the deputies had driven around barriers on the flooded road.
Richardson said the van came across rising water and was carried off the road.
"Tonight's incident is a tragedy", said Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'.
Holden said that deputies tried to get the victims out but couldn't. The two Horry County deputies who were responsible for transporting the women attempted to save them, according to the law enforcement narrative, but were unsuccessful in their efforts. "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place".
Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said Wednesday he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions. Officials said the van was near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water state officials are watching closely following the heavy rains of Florence.
The Transportation Department advised northbound motorists to take a wide detour around the area by using I-85 from Georgia through South Carolina's Upstate and on to Charlotte.
The river stands at more than 14 feet and is expected to reach 15.6 feet by Thursday night.
Gov. Roy Cooper told a news conference Tuesday is was hard for residents to leave home, and it's even harder for them to wait to go back.
Thompson identified the women as Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43.
Investigators are in the early stages of conducting interviews and gathering evidence, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.