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Navy sailors accidentally drowned at APG, medical examiner rules

One of three recent deaths at 'Super Pond' still under investigation by Army

By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

8:52 PM EDT, April 8, 2013

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Two U.S. Navy sailors who died diving in the Super Pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground in February accidentally drowned, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Monday.

Further details about how the men died will not be released for two to three months while the medical examiner's office prepares its final report, said the office's spokesman, Bruce Goldfarb.

The sailors were Diver 1st Class James Reyher, 28, of Caldwell, Ohio, and Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris, 23, of Gladstone, Mo. They were based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.

Another person died at the Super Pond in January, less than a month before the deaths of the two divers, prompting the U.S. Army in early March to close the facility indefinitely. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an inquiry as to whether it is still closed.

George H. Lazzaro Jr., an engineering technician in the Firepower Directorate of the Aberdeen Test Center, died while doing routine maintenance on the test infrastructure, Army officials have said.

The Underwater Test Facility, better known as the Super Pond, is a 1,070-foot-long, 150-foot-deep pond carved out of the bank of the Bush River to allow the Army to conduct shock tests of ships, boats and submarines for the Defense Department, researchers and private businesses.

Goldfarb said the medical examiner's office finished its report on the cause and manner of Lazzaro's death last month, but is not releasing that information because the Army is still investigating the death.

cwells@baltsun.com

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