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Army identifies Aberdeen Proving Ground diver who died in super pond

BY DAVID ANDERSON, daanderson@baltsun.com

5:19 PM EST, February 5, 2013

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The Army identified the diver who died while working at Aberdeen Proving Ground's "super pond" last week as George H. Lazzaro Jr. from Nottingham in Baltimore County.

Mr. Lazzaro, 41, died Jan. 30 while "completing routine underwater test infrastructure maintenance" in the super pond at the Harford County military installation, officially known as the UNDEX (Underwater Explosion) Test Facility, the Army said Friday.

Mr. Lazzaro was an engineering technician, who worked in the Firepower Directorate, part of APG's Aberdeen Test Center. The super pond is a 150-foot-deep aquatic facility near Bush River designed for shock testing of marine vessels. The pond was built in the early 1990s.

"Aberdeen Test Center personnel are saddened by the loss of one of our own," ATC commander Col. Gordon L. Graham said in statement released Friday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we mourn with them during this tragic loss."

Graham ordered a "safety stand down" on Thursday to review safety policies and procedures. Safety stand downs are typically held each month at the ATC, according to the statement.

The cause of death and cause of the accident are still under investigation, said Robin Boggs, public affairs officer with the Army's Test and Evaluation Command, which oversees the Aberdeen Test Center. An autopsy will be conducted on Mr. Lazzaro's body.

The incident took place around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 30. Aberdeen Proving Ground rescue personnel responded, as did rescuers from the Aberdeen Fire Department and the Susquehanna Hose Co. of Havre de Grace.

Mr. Lazzaro was recovered from the pond and taken by ambulance to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace.

He is survived by a wife and four children, along with his parents and sister, according to his online obituary published by Evans Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services of Parkville.

A funeral service was held Tuesday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Parkville. Burial was in Parkwood Cemetery in Baltimore.