A man was found dead early this morning after drowning in a water-filled rock quarry behind the the Rockridge Shopping Center on Pleasant Valley Road in Oakland Tuesday night, according to an Oakland fire battalion chief.
Firefighters searched for the victim for hours before a dive team located the victim at 12:42 a.m. at the bottom of the water-filled quarry in the 4400 block of Montgomery Street, Battalion Chief Emon Usher said.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office dive team recovered the body of the victim at the bottom of the quarry, about 30 feet below the water's surface, Usher said. The victim was unresponsive and pronounced deceased at the scene, according to Usher.
The victim was initially reported missing Tuesday night by a friend who said the victim had gone looking for his cat near the quarry and had not returned home, according to Usher. Usher said that the victim was searching for the cat in the rain, and likely slipped and fell into the body of water surrounded by steep cliffs. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
The team of divers began their search about 11 p.m Tuesday.
The underwater team was called in after a search by the Oakland Fire Department failed to locate the man. A California Highway Patrol helicopter also assisted in the search.
According to an NBC News crew on the scene, firefighters located a flashlight at the quarry and spotted a cat nearby.
Firefighters began their search shortly before 7:30 p.m.
The abandoned quarry, next to the CVS Pharmacy on Pleasant Valley Road near the Oakland-Piedmont line, is fed by the Rockridge branch of San Antonio Creek. The branch runs aboveground through the Claremont Country Club in Oakland, discharges into the quarry behind the pharmacy and then is undergrounded.
The quarry — once known as Eastman's Quarry — has been the site of several drownings and near-drownings, dating back to at least the 1860s. They include the 1896 drowning of a quarryman and the rescue by an Oakland Tech student of a boy who had fallen into the water in the late 1950s.
Bay City News Service contributed to this article.