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Navy Probes Deaths Of 2 Divers At Aberdeen Proving Ground

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(Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)

(Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)

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ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — Two Navy divers are killed during a diving operation in Harford County. This is the second deadly incident at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in the past month.

Mike Hellgren has details of what happened.

The Navy calls these deaths perplexing, happening during a simple training dive. Those divers were reportedly tethered to one another and now an investigation is underway.

It happened at the Super Pond, an underwater testing site that’s part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, and where two Navy divers lost their lives Tuesday. Those deaths follow that of George Lazarro Jr., an engineering technician who died performing maintenance in the same pond a month ago.

All three deaths prompted safety reviews and raised concern in the community.

“It’s scary. I mean, what would cause that? You know, what’s in there?” said Kim Snidow, Aberdeen.

“Who’s watching over them? I was kind of like ‘Wow’. I couldn’t believe what happened out here,” a man said.

WJZ has learned the two Navy divers were undergoing routine training in 60 feet of water and were in constant communication with those at the surface, tugging on air supply lines when those tugs suddenly stopped.

According to our sources, the divers then went into the water and found both men unresponsive. They were in cardiac arrest.

CBS News’ Pentagon correspondent identified the divers as James Rare, who’s 28 from Caldwell, Ohio, and Ryan Harris, who’s 23 from Gladstone, Mo. Both were based in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Super Pond is used to test underwater blasts on ships and submarines. The Army ordered a safety stand-down following Lazarro’s death last month. But now with two more deaths, expect a sweeping investigation.

Sources say the two incidents are unrelated, but puzzling to military officials.

The man-made body of water is more than 1,000 feet long and 150 feet deep. It is subject to monthly safety reviews.

The Super Pond has been in use since 1995.

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