Two Navy service members died in a diving accident at Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Unexploded Ordnance Range pond Tuesday afternoon, nearly a month after a diver employed at Aberdeen Test Center died at that location.
Killed in the incident were two members of the Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two, based in Virginia Beach, Va., according to a statement from the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two.
Emergency personnel from Aberdeen Proving Ground Emergency Services responded to reports of an incident at the pond at approximately 2:30 p.m. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene, while the second was transported to a local hospital, where they were also pronounced dead.
According to the Navy, the service members’ next of kin had been notified Tuesday evening, but the victims’ names were being withheld for 24 hours per Navy policy. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two was conducting an investigation into the deaths of the sailors.
The unexploded ordinance pond at Aberdeen Test Center, also known as the “Super Pond,” was the site of a Jan. 30 accident which killed George Lazzaro, 41, of Nottingham, Md., an employee in the test center’s Firepower Directorate.
According to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, “the Super Pond provides ATC 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. The pond has been used for testing here since 1995.”
Following Lazzaro’s death, test center commander Col. Gordon Graham ordered a one-day “safety stand down” on Jan. 31, during which employees reviewed safety procedures and practices.
The Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two’s official Web site outlines their role:
Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) TWO is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek-Ft. Story that deploys in support of diving and salvage operations and fleet exercises in NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM and CENTCOM AOR’s. It’s primary mission is to direct highly mobile, fully trained and equipped Mobile Diving and Salvage Companies to perform combat harbor clearance/search and expeditionary salvage operations including diving, salvage, repair, assistance, and demolition in ports or harbors and at sea aboard United States Navy (USN), Military Sealift Command (MSC) or commercial vessels of opportunity in wartime or peacetime.