Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

2 Women Die During Medical Transport as Florence Flooding Carries Off Sheriff’s Van

Popular
2 Women Die During Medical Transport as Florence Flooding Carries Off Sheriff’s Van
Women in a sheriff's van died in flooding like this from the Little Pee Dee River. Ricky Carioti / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two female mental health patients died in flooding caused by Hurricane Florence when a sheriff's department van transporting them from one South Carolina facility to another was swept away Tuesday night, The Associated Press reported.

Horry County Sheriff's Department (HCSD) spokeswoman Brooke Holden told The Associated Press that two deputies and the two detained women were traveling in the van. The deputies tried to get the women out, but were unable to do so. Rescuers were able to extract the deputies from the top of the van.


"The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported," an HCSD press release reported by CNN said. "Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van."

Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in a press release that his office would cooperate with an investigation into what happened.

"Tonight's incident is a tragedy," he said, The Associated Press reported. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered."

The investigation will be handled by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The women were identified as 45-year-old Windy Newton from Shallotte, North Carolina and 43-year-old Nicolette Green from Myrtle Beach, CNN reported.

They were being transported from a hospital in Loris and the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Conway, near the South Carolina coast, to McLeod Health Darlington, 65 miles northwest, Chief Deputy Tom Fox said.

The vehicle encountered flood waters about half a mile from the Little Pee Dee River, which has a flood level of 9 feet and is currently at 14 feet and expected to rise to 15.6 feet by Thursday night.

A police scanner recorded audio footage of the rescue attempt.

"The officers report they got out. The van is submerged, and they cannot get their inmates out," one unidentified person said, according to CNN.

Fox told CNN the women were restrained with seat belts.

The tragic incident happened after South Carolina faced criticism, in the lead-up to Florence, for declining to evacuate prisoners from facilities in the evacuation zone.

Specifically, it decided against evacuating at least 650 inmates from MacDougall Correctional Facility, which was in a county, Berkeley, that was covered by an evacuation order, VICE News reported.

North Carolina and Virginia evacuated some facilities ahead of the storm, but South Carolina has not evacuated a prison in advance of a hurricane since 1999.

"Previously, it's been safer to stay in place with the inmates rather than move to another location," South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson Dexter Lee told VICE News.

New Yorker reporter Daniel A. Gross tweeted conversations with South Carolina prisoners before and after the storm.

As of Sept. 16, South Carolina prison system director Bryan Stirling said there had been "[n]o damage at all to the prisons," Gross tweeted.

An inmate he spoke to said the storm had not been as bad as he feared, but he still strongly disagreed with the decision not to evacuate.

"Hell yea we disagree! What if the storm would have been as bad as predicted?" he said.

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less