Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

2 dead after van swept away in S. Carolina amid Florence flooding

2 dead after van swept away in S. Carolina amid Florence flooding

US President Donald Trump visited storm-ravaged North Carolina on Wednesday, while the state's governor, Roy Cooper, pleaded with thousands of evacuees not to return home just yet, warning the flooding is far from over and will get worse in some places.

They traveled northwest, on their way to Darlington about 100 miles away, across an obstacle course of blocked roads and swollen waters.

The death toll from Florence reached at least 37 in three states Tuesday, as Florence went in two directions: Water flowed downstream toward the Carolina coast, and storms hit the Northeast, where flash floods struck New Hampshire and NY state.

The Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said the two deputies escaped from the cab and tried to get the women out of the back.

We are working hand-in-hand with the State Law Enforcement Division to cooperate in this investigation.

The incident happened in the area of the Little Pee Dee River, which branches off from the Lumber River, in Mullins, South Carolina.

South Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Kelley Hughes said no trooper was stationed at the barricades, though others barricades in the area have had stationed troopers.

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

The National Weather Service has confirmed that the remnants of Hurricane Florence spawned a total of six tornadoes in Virginia earlier this week. The deputies transporting them managed to escape, but the women were unable to do so. The Little Pee Dee River reached "major" flood stage in several spots, and forecasters believe it will continue to rise.

"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported", a statement from the Horry County sheriff's office noted. But despite efforts to yank the doors open, authorities said, the floodwaters were too powerful for the deputies and the patients drowned inside.

On Wednesday, the sheriff said the vehicle had not yet been recovered yet due to unsafe conditions and rising waters.

So far, at least 37 people have died in Hurricane Florence-related incidents, according to CBS, including 27 in North Carolina, 8 in SC, and 2 in Virginia.

"We are sorry", Thompson told ABC affiliate WPDE, moments after the bodies were recovered and with tears in his eyes.

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