ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (WJZ)– In wake of two accidents that claimed the lives of two Navy divers and one civilian, the open water test pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground has been closed indefinitely for all military and civilian dive operations.
Officials at the Aberdeen Proving Ground say an engineering technician died Jan. 30 while performing maintenance at the Army facility’s ordinance pond also called the Super Pond.
On Tuesday two Navy divers died during a scheduled diving operation.
“The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and Aberdeen Test Center are troubled by the loss of two Navy divers February 26, and our personal loss January 30,” said Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, ATEC Commanding General. “Right now, members of the APG community are mourning the loss of these two servicemen. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the shipmates of the Navy divers.”
The two accidents remain under investigation. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted the Jan. 30 accident investigation; the second accident is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service with cooperation from the Army.
The Super Pond, which opened in 1995, was constructed when the Navy sought a more environmentally friendly site to conduct its open water tests. It provides the Army with the capability and expertise to conduct a wide range of Department of Defense, academia and private industry shock test programs, as well as other research and development and test and evaluation efforts without impact on the environment.
APG says since that time no recordable injuries or fatalities have occurred there until the latest accidents, which resulted in three deaths.