2 Navy Divers Drowned In Maryland Test Pond

Melissa Stusinski

Two Navy divers drowned in a Maryland test pond, according to a coroner's report. The divers died at a test pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground in February.

Spokesman Bruce Goldfarb with the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner stated that the divers' cause of death was the only information the agency was authorized to release about the divers.

The 2 Navy divers drowned on February 26 while conducting diving operations at the proving ground. They were both members of the Navy's Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit.

Navy officials released the sailors names, saying they were James Reyher, 28, of Ohio, and Ryan Harris, 23, Missouri. The Army installation where the incident took place is about 20 miles northeast of Baltimore.

Officials added that Reyher was a Navy Diver 1st Class while Harris was a Navy Diver 2nd Class. Their deaths, as well as that of George Lazzaro Jr. remain under investigation by several military and civilian agencies. Lazzaro 41, died at the pond on January 30 while he was performing underwater maintenance.

Lazzaro was a civilian engineering technician from Nottingham. Military officials closed the pond after the 2 Navy divers drowned pending the outcome of both investigations. All three deaths are under investigation by multiple organizations.

The divers' deaths are under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the divers' Virginia Beach, Va.-based unit, U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2.

Meanwhile the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama.; the Army's Criminal Investigation Division; and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating what happened to Lazzaro.

Aberdeen Proving Ground's Super Pond, where all three deaths took place, has been used to test torpedoes, missiles, warheads, amphibious and remotely controlled vehicles, underwater gun firing, and acoustics. It is mainly used to conduct shock test programs for ships and submarines, as well as other research and development programs.

There is no word on what the 2 Navy divers were working on when they drowned in the 150-foot-deep pond.

[Image via DanTD]