Local police are currently searching for a man who went missing while scuba diving in the Town of Southeast.

Robert Thomas, 48, of Jersey City, N.J., went diving Sunday afternoon in waters at the site of the former Tilly Foster Mine, sometimes referred to as Simon’s Quarry, located off Old Mine Road in the Town of Southeast.

On Sunday, Thomas was at the mine with two friends, a man and woman. Police were told that Thomas dove into the water around noon and the other man went in about an hour later. The woman remained on the surface.

The other man surfaced around 3 p.m., but Thomas did not emerge, police say.

Police were told that Thomas is a very experienced technical diver who has gone diving in the mine many times in the past.

Just before 4 p.m., the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a telephone call from Thomas’ girlfriend who reported that Thomas went diving at the mine and was late for a party at her house in Queens.

A sheriff’s deputy searched the area and found Thomas’ friends, who told the officer that Thomas was late in surfacing from his dive, given his air supply.

The Sheriff’s Office called for assistance of dive teams from the New York State Police and the Brewster and Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Departments. The Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services and the Brewster Volunteer Ambulance Corps also responded to the scene.

The area being searched is large, with the mine shafts having underwater depths ranging from about 175 to 600 feet and several side tunnels branching off, officials say.

As of this writing, the search for Thomas continues, with dive teams using sophisticated sonar equipment to aid in probing the mine, police say.

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