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4 Navy Divers Face Arraignment in Super Pond Deaths

The hearings will take place Wednesday and Thursday in Norfolk, VA.

Super Pond (Photo Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)
Super Pond (Photo Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)
Four members of a Virginia-based Navy dive and salvage team will appear in court this week in connection with two divers' deaths at the Aberdeen Proving Ground Super Pond, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Navy Diver 1st Class James Reyher of Caldwell, OH, and Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris of Gladstone, MO, drowned Feb. 26 in the underwater testing facility in Aberdeen when their breathing equipment failed. They were conducting a dive to find a helicopter underwater.

This week's judicial activity is the latest in the investigation by the Navy, which is handling the case.

The commanding officer was relieved of his duties in May.

Five members of the Navy were called for administrative hearings related to the deaths in August, according to WJZ.

One of the five accepted administrative action and will not be court-martialed, The Baltimore Sun reported, and the other four will be arraigned Wednesday and Thursday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

The Feb. 26 drownings came on the heels of another death at the Super Pond.

On Jan. 30, George Lazzaro Jr., 41, of Nottingham, died while performing underwater maintenance at the pond. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was involved in that investigation (the Navy handled the subsequent deaths) and found several violations of diving standards at the Super Pond.

The proving ground said that these were the first recorded injuries or deaths in the 150-foot-deep manmade pond, which opened in 1995 so the military could test explosives and practice salvage missions under water.

The Super Pond has been closed indefinitely for investigation.

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