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2 female patients from mental health facility drown in Florence floodwaters while shackled to police van; sheriff’s deputies survive

The bodies of the two women have still not been recovered

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.

ABC News reports that the van was traveling on Highway 76 when it was overtaken by severe flooding. The women were in the back of the van, in shackles. The Horry County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly tried to open the back door of the van to release the women, but were unable to because of the rising floodwater.

The sheriff’s deputies survived after rescue teams arrived on the scene and brought them to safety.

On Wednesday, a report in KOAA identified the victims as Windy Wenton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43.

KOAA also reports that as of Wednesday morning, the van and the bodies of the women had not been recovered, but the process was underway or expected to be soon.

County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in a statement obtained by ABC News that South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the tragic incident.

“Tonight’s incident is a tragedy,” Thompson said.

“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.”

 

[Feature image: AP Photo/Sean Rayford]