PaintSquare.com
      | Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise
  

 

Download our free e-book! Corrosion Under Insulation. Sponsored by Thermion.

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Navy Charges 4 in 2 Diving Deaths

Friday, October 11, 2013

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

The U.S. Navy has charged four senior leaders of an elite diving unit with dereliction of duty in the deaths of two Navy divers who perished during a training exercise at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Arraigned Wednesday (Oct. 9) were four members of Mobile Salvage and Diving Unit 2, based in Virginia Beach, VA, and part of the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2. The defendants were identified as:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class Jason M. Bennett;
  • Senior Chief Navy Diver James C. Burger,
  • Senior Chief Navy Diver David C. Jones; and
  • Chief Navy Diver Gary G. Ladd Jr.
George Lazzaro Jr. Ryan Harris James Reyher
Handouts via (left) Baltimore News Journal and Baltimore.local.com

Two accidents in three weeks at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground "Super Pond" claimed the lives of (from left) former Marine George Lazzaro Jr., Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris, and Navy Diver 1st Class James Reyher. The Super Pond is an underwater explosive test facility.

Bennett, the dive master in the incident, faces two counts of dereliction of duty; the other sailors, one count each. Each of the defendants has more than a decade of experience as Navy divers.
 
Commander Removed
 
The charges relate to the deaths Feb. 26 of Diver 1st Class James Reyher, 28, and Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris, 23. Reyher and Harris, both experienced Navy divers, died during training at Aberdeen's Underwater Explosive Test Facility (UNDEX), a massive tank known as the Super Pond.
 
On May 1, the Navy announced that it had opened a Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Article 32 (court martial) investigation into the two deaths. On May 9, it announced the removal of Cmdr. Michael Runkle as commanding officer of the diving unit, citing "safety concerns," "command climate weaknesses," and "morale issues."
 
3rd Diver Dies
 

The deaths of Reyher and Harris came three weeks after another diving accident at the Super Pond claimed the life of George H. Lazzaro Jr., 41, a engineering technician and former Marine. Lazzaro was performing routine maintenance in the 150-foot-deep, blast-resistant Super Pond when he drowned.

Aberdeen Proving Ground
U.S. Army

The Underwater Explosive Test Facility (UNDEX), used mostly by the Navy, is located at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

The Army, which operates Aberdeen, and Navy have both been investigating the deaths. Most of the operations at the pond are Navy related.
 
Indeed, after Lazzaro's death, Aberdeen Test Center Commander Col. Gordon Graham ordered all civilian dives at the Super Pond halted. But Reyher's and Harris's dive went ahead at the Navy's request, and the Navy was responsible for the operation, authorities said.
 
OSHA Violations
 
In August, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration notified the Army of 11 violations in Lazzaro's death. OSHA's investigation into the deaths of Reyher and Harris is continuing.

In Lazzaro's case, OSHA accused the Army of improper training of divers, inadequate supervision on the dive, lack of a standby diver, lack of a reserve breathing air supply, and other violations.

The Army did not contest the violations, the Marine Corps Times reported later in August. Graham told the news outlet that the center would incorporate OSHA's finding and other recommendations into its plans and procedures.

'Everything That Could Possibly Go Wrong'

The four Navy defendants are accused of negligently failing to ensure that sailors under their command followed proper diving procedures and safety requirements in February's training exercise.

"Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong for us," Petty Officer 1st Class Fernando Almazan, the dive supervisor, testified at a military hearing in June, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Aberdeen diver in Super Pond
U.S. Army

The 150-foot-deep training tank known as the Super Pond has been closed since the deaths of two Navy divers (not pictured) in February.

Hearing witnesses said that the sailors' underwater breathing units had failed, forcing them to change equipment. A standby diver who was sent to check on the pair ran out of breath when his scuba regulator froze, and two rescue divers were forced to return to the surface when one became disoriented.

Also at issue is whether Reyher and Harris should have been allowed to dive to 150 feet, deeper than a normal training dive of 130 feet.

Courts-martial for the four accused sailors are expected to be held in November or December, Lt. Nathan Potter, spokesman for Explosive Ordnance Group 2, told Navy Times.

A fifth sailor, Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class Mark Smith, who supervised the dive, has accepted administrative and disciplinary action and was not charged.

 

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Fatalities; OSHA; Tanks and vessels; U.S. Army; U.S. Navy

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

able equipment rental
RENTALS | SALES | SERVICE | PARTS

Construction equipment, plus compressors up to 1,800 cfm of air power & a fleet of service vehicles providing repairs to customer owned fleets. 866-468-2666.
www.ableequipment.com


Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!

CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.


Novetas Solutions
Number 1 Crushed Glass Abrasive in America!

Manufactured from 100% Recycled Glass.
NO Crystalline Silica,
Beryllium & Arsenic
Great White Metal Finish!
4 plants on Navy QPL
Call us at 866-775-6226


ABKaelin, LLC
ABkaelin, LLC

SSPC C3 & C5 TRAINING
QUALITY PROGRAM/CERTIFICATION SUPPORT – ISO,NQA-1, AISC SSPC QP and QS.
MONITORING-Environmental and worker monitoring CONSULTING & INSPECTION – Coatings, EHS, and compliance.
www.abkaelin.com


Vector Technologies Ltd.
The Original Performance Proven Vacuum Solutions

Vecloader DV 145, 350hp 6200 CFM & 28’’hg. For those big jobs, choose Vector for the most powerful trailer mounted vacuum in the industry today. 800-832-4010, 414-247-7100.


Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.


Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques

See our Low Temperature Catalyst for your CO removal needs. Help to provide your workers with safe, comfortable breathing air!


US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.


Dehumidifiers, Sales and Consulting
How long can you hold a WHITE-METAL BLAST?

Click to learn how 30 DAYS is easy! Don Bechtol has over 40 years of experience utilizing DH for blasting/coating projects. Call today.
1-713-249-1615
¡SE HABLA ESPAÑOL!

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2016, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com