Drowning Aftermath: OSHA Finds Safety Violations At Army Pond In Aberdeen

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(Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)

(Credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground)

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ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ)–The investigation is over. The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found serious safety violations after three deaths at an Army weapons testing pond in Aberdeen.

Linh Bui explains the latest developments.

Federal investigators now say nearly a dozen safety standards were violated at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The massive “super pond” claimed three lives this year.

Navy divers James Reyher and Ryan Harris died during a training exercise in February. They were diving to a helicopter at the bottom of the pond 150 feet deep when something went wrong. Their deaths were ruled accidental drownings.

WJZ learned a commander did not approve the dive.

A month before that, civilian employee George Lazzaro Jr. died while doing routine maintenance work in the “super pond.”

OSHA has been investigating since the first tragedy and announced Thursday that it found seven violations at the “super pond.”

The most serious? Improper training for divers, allowing dives to be performed without a standby diver and using breathing air for purposes other than breathing.

OSHA also found four less serious violations.

Meantime, a military judge is investigating the deaths of the two Navy divers.

Two officers could face criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

The judge could decide to dismiss the charges against the officers.

The “super pond” remains closed, pending the outcome of all the investigations.

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