Two female mental health patients drown while chained up in police van

Floodwaters surround an area in South Carolina

Richardson said the incident happened on Pee Dee Island Road off U.S. Highway 76 outside of Nichols.

Two female mental health patients detained for medical transport drowned Tuesday night when a sheriff's department van was swept away in rising SC flood waters, according to authorities.

WLTX reports that the two deputies were transporting the two patients to McLeod Behavorial Health in Darlington.

'Tonight's incident is a tragedy, ' he said.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is reportedly investigating the circumstances surrounding their deaths. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

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

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The Lumber River as of September 19 was still in "major" flood stage in several places, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters predict some rivers in the northeastern area of the state might not reach their highest levels until later this week or next week.

A resident surveys a road inundated by water in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence. The two deputies were rescued, the occupants have not been recovered.

First responders are at the scene of a drowning that involves an Horry County Sheriff office van. High-water rescue teams rescued the deputies from on top of the van.

Authorities confirm two female mental health patients drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in South Carolina, CBS affiliate WLTX reports.

Coroner Jerry M. Richardson told WLOS that the victims were both female and were chained up in the back of the van.

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