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Unoccupied Car Submerged in Upper Otay Reservoir

Officials geared up Saturday to fish a car out of the Upper Otay Reservoir in Chula Vista after the vehicle plunged into the water.

An official told NBC 7 a fully submerged car was reported in the water near Otay Lakes and Wueste roads just after 9:45 a.m. The Chula Vista Police Department, Chula Vista Fire Department, a San Diego Lifeguards dive team and California Highway Patrol all responded to the scene.

About an hour later, the Chula Vista Fire Department said crews were shifting their efforts from a rescue operation to a recovery. The car remained fully submerged in the reservoir.

Divers planned to go in and assess the vehicle, the CVFD said.

By 12:05 p.m., the San Diego Lifeguards at the scene were able to confirm to NBC 7 that there was no one inside the car. Crews continued the process of removing the vehicle from the water.

At this time, the circumstances surrounding how or why the car plunged into the water are unknown.


According to the City of San Diego, the Upper Otay Reservoir is the smallest of San Diego’s impounding reservoirs. It was established 60 years ago – in 1959 – as a hatchery for the introduction of Florida-strain largemouth bass. The city’s website said 21 of the 25 largest bass in history “were the progeny of the fingerlings used in that experiment.

The Upper Otay Reservoir has been open to the public since 1996. The gates are open on a seasonal schedule, from February through October, weather permitting – but only on certain days. The reservoir is closed on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Pedestrian access for fishing is allowed year-round on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

When full, the Upper Otay Reservoir has 20 surface acres, according to the City of San Diego.

Photo Credit: Tom Zizzi/NBC 7 San Diego
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Source: NBC San Diego

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