The two women were being transported from Conway to Darlington, according to the Horry County Sheriff's Office. "Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors", the statement reads. The deputies were rescued from the van's roof, police said. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'.
The investigation has been handed over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the news release said.
"It's still hard, we've got rising, rapid water, debris-infested water, dark water, and the vehicle is all the way under the water now", Richardson said Wednesday afternoon.
Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson told the Associated Press early Wednesday that the van was still underwater. Richardson later told the Washington Post that sheriff's deputies often transfer mental-health patients saying, "It's a courtesy they do".
The patients were being taken from Loris Hospital and Waccamaw Mental Health Hospital to McLeod, according to WPDE.
Some roads in Marion and Horry County are impacted by floods after Hurricane Florence passed through the area. At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle can not be removed due to rising waters and unsafe conditions. "We get an order to transport to a facility, that's what we do", Thompson said, reported the Myrtle Beach Sun News. "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place".
Last night, we had a tragedy.
The incident happened in the area of the Little Pee Dee River, which branches off from the Lumber River, in Mullins, South Carolina.
Harrowing police scanner audio provides details of the efforts to save the women, who could be heard talking as rescuers scrambled to save them.
Thompson also said he didn't know if the deputies had driven around any barricades blocking the roads.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday visited North Carolina, which is bearing the brunt of Florence's deadly deluge and where rivers are still rising while thousands of homes and roadways remain submerged.
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