By Kyle James  |  09-19-2018   News
Photo credit: Taya Johnston | Dreamstime.com

Hurricane Florence's death toll climbs to 37 after two mental health patients in police custody drowned when a police van was swept away in floods. North Carolina's governor pleaded to thousands of evacuees not to return home yet. Wednesday, President Donald Trump arrived in the devastated North Carolina to personally help volunteers at a church in the coastal town of New Bern which was hit especially hard by the Hurricane. Trump asked one evacuee, "How's the house?" as he handed out foam containers of food adding "You take care of yourself."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;Can I have a hug?&quot;<br><br>President Trump hugs boy while distributing meals to those affected by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina<a href="https://t.co/oxWV2vxBWQ">pic.twitter.com/oxWV2vxBWQ</a></p>&mdash; Breaking911 (@Breaking911) <a href="https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1042462749773705217?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/37282-Hurricane-Florence-17-Dead-In-Historic-And-Unprecedented-Flooding-Video">Hurricane Florence - 17 Dead In "Historic And Unprecedented Flooding" (Video)</a>

The latest two deaths are especially disturbing considering the two mental health patients were in the custody of police. Both police escorts escaped the van and were rescued but the two prisoners being transported died. President Trump also praised the response to the "devastating" storm during a press conference Wednesday. "Unfortunately, the money will be a lot, but it's going to come as fast as you need it," the president said. "We're going to take care of everybody."

Unfortunately, that didn't apply to the two mental health patients who were prisoners of the government and died a terrible death inside a mobile cell. The two prisoners were identified by the Marion County Coroner as Wendy Wenton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43. A statement from the Horry County Sheriff's Department stated that flood waters overtook the van and rose too fast for the officers to unshackle them. It is unclear exactly how the event unfolded, but it is known that the two deputies climbed on top of the van as the flood waters rose around the vehicle.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trump stopped by some yards of North Carolina families whose homes were gutted by floodwater from the Neuse River in Hurricane Florence.<br><br>Majority smiled at him and thanked him for coming. One man, standing amid his trashed belongings, said it meant a lot to have motorcade visit. <a href="https://t.co/odLgeS1wW2">pic.twitter.com/odLgeS1wW2</a></p>&mdash; Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) <a href="https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/1042459786644803584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The Horry County Sheriff's Department's statement continued, "Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van." So far, authorities have been unable to retrieve the van containing the drown bodies of the two victims. "At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle cannot be removed due to rising waters and dangerous conditions," the statement said.

The two women being transported were being sent from Waccamaw Mental Health and Loris Hospital to a behavioral health hospital in Darlington, South Carolina." Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in a statement to Greenville News, "Tonight's incident is a tragedy. Just like you, we have questions we want answered. We are fully co-operating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event." The deaths of Wenton and Green occurred near the Little Pee Dee River which is rising due to water from North Carolina flowing downriver into South Carolina.

Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/37187-Hurricane-Florence-Widespread-Looting-In-Wilmington-NC-Multiple-Stores-Robbed-Video">Hurricane Florence – Widespread Looting In Wilmington, NC – Multiple Stores Robbed (Video)</a>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I just spoke with Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and Thom Berry with SLED. The bodies of the two victims have been recovered. Heading to MUSC. They were not shackled or restrained. Still an ongoing investigation. More on <a href="https://twitter.com/wpdeabc15?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wpdeabc15</a> News at 7. <a href="https://t.co/Og3JBLEzKY">pic.twitter.com/Og3JBLEzKY</a></p>&mdash; Sydney Glenn (@SydneyWPDE) <a href="https://twitter.com/SydneyWPDE/status/1042543924315938818?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Around 7 p.m., Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and Thom Berry told local news ABC 15 that the bodies of the two victims have been recovered. ABC 15 reporter Sydney Glenn tweeted, "I just spoke with Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and Thom Berry with SLED. The bodies of the two victims have been recovered. Heading to MUSC. They were not shackled or restrained. Still an ongoing investigation. More on @wpdeabc15 News at 7."

The Little Pee Dee river rose to over 46 feet in some regions and has flooded town water supplies, according to officials. South Carolina has seen eight deaths in its state so far as flooding from Hurricane Florence is set to get worse in the coming weeks. Thousands of homes in both North and South Carolina are still underwater and rescuers have spent the last several days rescuing families. Over 3,000 people have been rescued by state emergency responders as of Wednesday with the aid of 20,000 federal and military personnel.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called Hurricane Florence "a storm like no other" during a press conference with President Trump Wednesday. "We are a beacon in the South and we have weathered storms before in our state," Cooper said. "But Mr. President, we have never seen one like this. This one has been epic. It has been disastrous. It has been widespread."

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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center</span>

Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/37237-Multiple-People-Arrested-Looting-During-Hurricane-Florence-in-a-Disturbingly-Primitive-Nature">Multiple People Arrested Looting During Hurricane Florence in a Disturbingly Primitive Nature</a>

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) Brock Long said the government is working to get disaster survivor assistance teams into the affected regions. "A disaster response like this takes all of us working together, not just the federal government," Long said. "This event's not over. The rivers are still cresting we still have a lot of work to do."

President Trump was also adamant that federal support will continue as well. "We will be there 100%," Trump said. "That's why we started early, and we'll be here late."

<i>On Twitter:</i>

<a href="https://twitter.com/MAGASyndicate">@MAGASyndicate</a>

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Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45577071

Twitter: #Trump #MAGA #FEMA #HurricaneFlorence #Flooding #Victims #NorthCarolina #SouthCarolina
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