Recovery

Florence Death Toll Rises to 19, Including Three Young Children, Carolinas Officials Say

The dead include people who drowned, were electrocuted, crushed by trees, 'thrown by the wind' and carbon monoxide poisoning, media outlets and government agencies report.

by Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer / September 17, 2018
A home in the Evergreen mobile home part was destroyed by a large pine tree that fell during the height of Hurricane Florence. Several units in the park in Newport, N.C., were destroyed by wind or falling trees. AP/Robert Willett

(TNS) — The death toll blamed on Hurricane Florence stands at 13 in North Carolina and 6 in South Carolina, including two bodies recovered Monday morning in Union County, N.C.

The dead include people who drowned, were electrocuted, crushed by trees, “thrown by the wind” and carbon monoxide poisoning, media outlets and government agencies report.

The death toll rose Monday morning when an unidentified man’s body was found in the flood waters in Union County, N.C. WSOC reported the body was found next to a car that had been submerged during the storm. The car was found off Landsford Road in the Marshville area, reported WBTV. The Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that the death is “weather related.”

In an unrelated Union County death, the body of 1-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch was recovered Monday, after he “was swept away in rushing waters from Richardson Creek.”

The accident happened when the child’s mother “drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road,” said a sheriff’s office Facebook post. “She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water.”

In Dallas, N.C., a 3-month-old died Sunday after a tree fell into the family’s mobile home and struck the boy and his mother as they sat on a couch, the Gaston Gazette reported. The child, Kade Gill, was hit in the head and died later at a hospital, but the mother survived with non-life-threatening injuries, said the Gazette.

The first child death from the storm was a baby killed Friday morning in Wilmington, also by a tree that fell into a home. The child’s mother was hit and killed by the same tree, said a tweet by Wilmington Police.

Among the other deaths:

A 78-year-old victim was electrocuted Friday in Lenoir County while “trying to connect two extension cords outside in the rain,” reported TV station WNCN.

A 77-year-old Kinston man died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was “blown down by the wind” while tending dogs, WNCN reported.

Three died in Duplin County “due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,” reported WNCN. All three incidents involved people who were “swept away” while in vehicles, the station reported.

An 81-year-old man in Wayne County died Friday while evacuating, the Associated Press reported.

A couple died in a house fire in Cumberland County Friday, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

In South Carolina, the deaths also included multiple drivers who crashed after encountering flood waters or fallen trees on roads.

The Associated Press reported a 61-year-old woman died Friday when her vehicle hit a fallen tree dangling over Highway 18 near Union.

Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson said Sunday that Michael Dalton Prince, 23, drowned inside his truck when it overturned in high water, according to The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News.

On Sunday morning, the S.C. Department of Public Safety reported Jeffery B. Youngren, 42, of Elgin, died in Kershaw County when a pickup ran off I-20 north of Columbia and hit an overpass support beam. Coroner David A. West reported “the weather played a big part in his death.”

In Horry County, the Coroner’s Office confirmed Debra Collins Rion, 61, and Mark Carter King, 63, died of carbon monoxide poisoning from their generator, The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News reported.

On Sunday morning, the Lexington County Coroner reported Rhonda Rebecca Hartley, 30, of Leesville died when a pickup truck encountered standing water on Pond Branch Road and slid off the road into a tree, reported WIS.

Other deaths have been reported but not directly linked to the storm.

On Monday, authorities reported someone died at a New Hanover County flood shelter, but it was not made clear if that death is to be counted among the storm deaths, reported WECT.

The Wilmington Star News reported the death occurred at Hoggard High School, where a shelter had been set up for storm evacuees.

Other deaths not directly linked to the storm include a woman who died in a shelter and a woman who had a heart attack and died during the storm while waiting for an ambulance, reported the Associated Press.

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©2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

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