Recovery efforts were underway Wednesday, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The women were in the back of the van, in shackles.
The patients were being taken from Loris Hospital and Waccamaw Mental Health Hospital to McLeod, according to WPDE. 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. "Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence - and they are 100% correct", he tweeted.
Some roads in Marion and Horry County are impacted by floods after Hurricane Florence passed through the area.
"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", Cooper said.
According to information from the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the portion of Highway 76 in the Nichols area was closed Tuesday night and had been closed for some time.
"This is the first time ever we had an event like this", Thompson said.
The sheriff's office told the Fayetteville Observer the teams weren't able to retrieve the body because the trailer was surrounded by water.
The deputies in the van were rescued and taken to the hospital, according to our source, but the patients were chained in the back of the van.
Two mental-health patients in sheriff’s van drown in S.C. floodwaters
Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson says the women died Tuesday night when two of his deputies taking them to a mental health facility under court order drove into high water.
It was reported early Tuesday that the Pee Dee River was rising above flood stage and spilling its banks and roadways were flooding but some passable.
We are working hand-in-hand with the State Law Enforcement Division to cooperate in this investigation.
Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.
He added the women, who he says were not detainees but mental health patients, were not strapped/shackled in the van.
Police officials told The Sun News that the deputies tried to help the victims, but couldn't open the van doors because the water was rising too fast. The vehicle, staffed by two Horry County Sheriff's Office deputies, was transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington.
On Wednesday, the sheriff said the vehicle had not yet been recovered yet due to unsafe conditions and rising waters.