NORFOLK, Va. -- Four Navy divers were charged Wednesday with dereliction of duty in connection with the deaths of two Navy divers during a training exercise earlier this year.
Navy Diver 1st Class James Reyher of Caldwell, Ohio, and Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris of Gladstone, Mo., drowned during a Feb. 26 dive at Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground that Navy officials say shouldn‚Äôt have happened.
According to a press release from the U.S. Navy, the four divers arraigned on Wednesday are accused of failing to ensure that ‚Äúdiving procedures and safety requirements were adhered to.‚ÄĚ Master Chief Navy Diver David C. Jones, Senior Chief Navy Diver James Burger, Chief Navy Diver Gary G. Ladd, Jr. and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason M. Bennett were all involved at various levels with the training exercise that resulted in the divers' deaths. They are expected to be tried at separate courts-martial proceedings beginning in January.
The charges allege that Reyher and Harris were asked to conduct a dive deeper than normal working limits and use surface-supplied oxygen instead of scuba equipment.
Though autopsies concluded Reyher and Harris died of accidental drowning, the actual circumstances may never be known.