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

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Two women drowned in North Carolina while they were being transported from a mental health facility in a van also occupied by two sheriff's deputies.

The coroner in neighboring Marion County confirmed the two deceased patients were female, and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident, according to the statement.

Two women who were being transported to a mental health facility drowned when a sheriff's department van was swept away in rising SC floodwaters, according to authorities.

"I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out", Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson told reporters Wednesday afternoon. He said the two deputies involved had been placed on administrative leave and he had launched an internal investigation.

Harrowing police scanner audio provides details of the efforts to save the women, who could be heard talking as rescuers scrambled to save them. "If they saw the water-they have their own, you know, 'turn around, don't drown.' They have that everywhere".

"I'm believing we're going to get answers", said Stacy Martin.

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Horry County Deputy Tom Fox told WPDE-TV that the victims were mental health patients being transported from one facility to another.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson said, "They're both still under the water. It could be assumed that he did", Thompson said Wednesday. The deputies were rescued from the van's roof, police said. "They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out", Richardson told AP about the incident.

"We want those who are responsible to be held accountable", it reads in part. Richardson later told the Washington Post that sheriff's deputies often transfer mental-health patients saying, "It's a courtesy they do".

Those waters have risen another two feet (at least) since that picture was taken ... At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered.

Nicolette's daughters and sister shared loving stories of her and are leaning on one another for love and support, but want to know how this happened. "It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk".

State officials in North Carolina now say 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs have been killed in flooding from Florence.

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