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Four sailors face court martial in deaths at Navy 'Super Pond'

Oct. 8, 2013 at 1:51 PM

ABERDEEN, Md., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Four members of an elite Navy diving unit face court martial in the deaths of two of its members at a training facility in Maryland, a Navy spokesman says.

Lt. Nathan Potter said the names of the sailors and the charges against them will be revealed at their arraignments this week, The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

Two members of the Mobile Salvage and Diving Unit 2 drowned Feb. 26 in the "Super Pond" at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

In August, the Navy said five officers, including Chief Warrant Officer Mark Smith and Diver Senior Chief James Barger would face discipline in the incident. Potter said one of the five men would not face court martial because he had accepted administrative action.

Investigators said Diver 1st Class James Reyher, 29, and Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris, 22, died after their underwater breathing units failed and a line that tethered them to the surface became tangled in the Super Pond, a 150-foot deep tank used to test sonar, torpedoes and the effects of explosions on naval vessels.

A civilian contractor died in the pond in January while performing routine maintenance. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration later found "serious" violations of commercial diving safety standards.

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