Hurricane Florence: Family Demands Answers After 2 Mental Health Patients Drowned

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Flooding in South Carolina (Getty Images)

The two women were being transported in a van at the time of their deaths.

The families of two women who died while being transported to a mental health facility during Hurricane Florence are outraged at their deaths. 

Wendy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, were killed Tuesday after a van they were shackled in was overcome by floodwaters in South Carolina. The deputies who were transporting them were rescued after unsuccessful attempts to free the women, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said during a press conference.

Green’s family told WLTX they want those responsible to be held accountable for the deaths. 

"These women were not inmates or criminals. They were women who voluntarily sought help. They trusted the hospitals and the sheriff deputies with their lives and that trust was abused," the family said in a statement.

"We want answers."

Thompson said deputies rode around a barrier blocking the road where the incident happened on the way to the facility. 

It took rescuers 45 minutes to get to the van, which was completely submerged at that point. The deputies were rescued from the van’s roof, police said. 

The women’s bodies were recovered Wednesday because officials said conditions weren’t safe at the time of the deputies’ rescue.

Both deputies who transported the women have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division and Highway Patrol.