While many lakes are famous in their own right, one was about to leave people guessing about what could possibly be lying underneath. After all, it’s not every day that you see a mysterious hole open up in a lake, right?
A typical day
Drones have become more and more popular over the years as people across the world want a new way to capture their lives. Plus, you can often spot some incredible sights from up above. Evan Kilkus is one of the many who owns a drone, and he often shares his findings on his social media channels.
He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, Evan was going about his typical day as he flew his drone over the surface of a lake. However, as Evan looked back at the footage he captured, he noticed something strange. There appeared to be something in the lake, and it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. Evan had to find out what it was.
Close to home
It turned out that Evan was used to flying his drone around the area as he had been practicing with his gadget for many months. There are plenty of picturesque regions across America, but San Francisco Bay is like anything that many of us have ever seen. It’s teeming with wildlife and photo opportunities.
Evan knew this too well. However, he didn’t want to capture the are like everyone else with a camera; he wanted to see it from above. The best bit? Evan worked at a local water sports rental shop found at Lake Berryessa. His years next to the water meant that he knew the place like the back of his hand. Well, Evan thought that he did.
Looking a little closer
Evan flew the drone around and enjoyed watching it from the ground below. He thought he had enough footage and decided to check it out to see what he had captured. After all, being so high above the ground meant that he could have seen things that no one else could even dream of.
The lake looked perfect. Evan continued to scroll through the footage until he paused the clip and looked a little closer. Right in the middle of the lake was a giant hole. Surely that must have been a mark on the camera? He looked a little closer, but to Evan’s surprise, he really was looking at a huge hole. How had Evan never noticed this strange addition?
Scratching his head
Although Evan knew that the drone really had captured the strange sight, he had no idea how the hole had got there or what it was doing. He had been working by the lake for a long time, and no one had ever mentioned this before. Surely he wasn’t the first to find it?
However, it was so large and strange that Evan couldn’t believe that it had been there for long. The hole was huge, and the water from the lake was flowing right through it to the bottom. It was almost as though there was supposed to be a plug at the bottom of the lake, and someone had pulled it out. Evan started to worry about all the water.
Taking another look
The hole seemed to go against everything that Evan knew about the lake. At first, he had no idea how to react to the footage. It looked like it was straight out of a sci-fi movie. It was almost as though Evan was looking at a portal that would take him to another dimension, and crazy thoughts started to run through his head.
Evan composed himself and decided to try and take a closer look at the hole to see if he could find any clues about why it was there or where all of the water was going. He sent his drone flying back up into the air. Evan continued to fly it closer to the lake to try and see clearer.
Capturing new angles
Evan scanned the area from above until he found the hole once again. There it was. The hole was collecting hundreds of gallons of water at every moment. Evan hoped that if he flew closer to the hole that he would be able to see another clue that would give him the answers, or even discover that it had been an illusion.
However, as the drone continued to do its thing, Evan realized that it was no mistake. The camera was picking up all-new angles of the strange hole lying in the water. It wasn’t until Evan got his drone even closer that something bizarre started to happen to his piece of tech. Things began to get creepy for the drone enthusiast.
An unexpected malfunction
The drone was hovering above the lake as it should have been until all of a sudden, Evan noticed that it was starting to play up. Evan worried as the tech was above the water, and there was no way to get it back. The controls started to flash in his hands as if something else was trying to take over Evan’s device.
It was glitching – and this wasn’t good. While Evan had been using his drone for a long time, he had never seen anything like this before. All Evan could think was that he needed to get the drone back over dry land and fast. At least if it did lose control, it wouldn’t fall into the lake and disappear.
Draining the battery
Thankfully, Evan’s drone-flying skills meant that he was soon able to fly it back over dry land and get it to safety. He was worried about what had happened to his tech, but he was glad that it was back in one piece. It turned out that things weren’t as bad as Evan had first feared. The drone was in one piece.
The reason that so many warnings came up at once was that the battery was running critically low. That was strange. There should have been plenty of charge left in it. Whatever was pulling the water into the hole had also tried to suck in his drone. It used all its battery trying to fly away from the force.
Left with few options
There was no time to waste as Evan frantically looked through the footage once again to see if he had been able to capture the hole in a new light. It turned out that he had found what he was looking for, but Evan still didn’t have any clues about where the water was going or what was pulling the water in the first place.
He was left with two choices. Evan could leave and try to forget all about the mysterious hole in the middle of the lake, or he could try and get a little closer. Evan decided to risk his drone and send it over the water one more time. He couldn’t give up.
Doing his research
Although Evan was desperate to get back out there and search for the mysterious hole, he knew that he needed to charge his drone before he could send it over the water. That wasn’t all. His limited knowledge about the hole meant that Evan could be more prepared next time he went in search of the strange thing.
This meant that Evan needed to alter his drone to make sure that it could cope with the strong pull coming from the hole. Plus, Evan wanted to see if he could learn any more about Lake Berryessa to see if there were any secrets surrounding the water. He hoped that someone else had seen the hole before and had some answers about what it could be.
A dark history
It wasn’t until Evan started to look around for clues on the internet that he learned there was more on Lake Berryessa than he ever knew. However, nothing seemed to come close to describing the strange hole that he had captured with his drone. Evan searched high and low, but he was no closer to finding his answer.
That was until he found one article that might point him in the right direction. Evan learned that the lake had been hiding some strange secrets, and they could link with the hole he had seen. Unfortunately, as Evan continued to scour the internet for clues, he learned the lake had a tragic history. He might not have been the first to discover the hole after all.
Out of nowhere
It turned out that a woman called Emily Shwalek had been swimming in the lake back in 1997. Everything was fine until Emily suddenly found herself being pulled to the bottom of the water. It appeared as though she had stumbled across a strange whirlpool that she had never seen before, and now she was caught up in it all.
Emily struggled to try and get away from the water, but it was too late. After clinging onto rocks at the edge of the pool for 20 minutes, Emily lost the battle and lost her life. Evan knew that the similarities were too strong to be a coincidence. Both of them had stumbled across a whirlpool, but one had tragic consequences.
A final mission
He had done all the research he could find, and the drone had finally finished charging. Evan knew that it was time to head back to the lake to see if he could finally uncover answers surrounding the mystery of the hole. Evan prepared his drone and sent it back into the air. He had to hope that he could still find the hole.
Suddenly, it was right in front of his eyes. Now, Evan determined that the hole must be around 72 feet across, it was huge, and Evan couldn’t help but find himself getting drawn closer and closer to it. There was no way of knowing the true extent of it all. How deep did it go? How much was down there?
Gathering a crowd
It wasn’t long before Evan’s obsession with finding out the truth behind the hole started to attract a crowd. Plus, others had begun to notice the strange hole out in the middle of the lake and wanted to know what could possibly be happening. People lined up on the paths to see if they could get a closer look.
At the very least, they wanted to snap a photo of the mysterious hole to show off to their friends and family. More and more people started to arrive, including Kevin King. He worked as an operations manager at the company in charge of the county’s water facilities. At last, it looked as though Evan and the crowd might get their answer.
Plenty of interest
However, it turned out that Kevin wasn’t drawn to the mysterious hole in the middle of the lake, but he was actually there to see why so many people were impressed with it in the first place. Apparently, he had visited Lake Berryessa a few days before and saw around 15 people all flying their drones above the water.
Kevin knew that people wanted answers and admitted that it was impressive to watch the water flow into a giant hole. Even though he worked with water facilities, he was still amazed by the power of the water flowing through the hole. Now, Kevin and other members of the local authorities wanted to put people’s minds at rest and confess the truth.
Designing the feature
If there’s one thing that many of us have learned over the years, it’s that California is a dry state that often suffers from droughts. There are only a few water sources across the state. There are many human-made lakes in the area, including Lake Berryessa. When it was built, it was one of the largest artificial lakes across the nation.
It was designed to be a part of the Monticello Dam in Napa County. The dam sits between the Vaca Mountains and helps to collect water for the dry seasons. However, when the lake was still being designed, the team decided to incorporate a unique feature. It turned out that their idea was the reason behind the strange water vortex.
Piecing it together
Many people have traveled from the surrounding areas to enjoy Lake Berryessa. However, there is a lot more to the water than its beauty. It turns out that it also plays a hugely important role in the lives of thousands of people in the area. There are around 526 billion gallons of water that’s held for the surrounding towns.
A lot of it is used in irrigation systems and as drinking water, but there’s more. The water from Monticello Dam and Lake Berryessa powers homes around 600,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, Evan and the others were still trying to find out what the mysterious hole in the lake had to do with any of this.
Altering their designs
While California is mostly known for its hot and dry weather, the state can also see a lot of rain in a short amount of time. Engineers working on the dam and the lake knew that they needed to prepare for all of the extra water. Architects decided that the best thing was to incorporate a spillway into their design.
This should hopefully stop the water from flooding local roads and tracks as well as hold onto the precious water. Most spillways are built into the walls of the dam. Not this one. Lake Berryessa is a narrow lake, and a typical spillway would have been too large. The architects had to think on their feet to find an alternative solution.
Creating new solutions
The water helps to power the local area when it flows through the dam and into Putah Creek that’s found nearby to the lake. However, that wouldn’t work if there was too much water up the top as it would all run out the sides of the lake and cause flooding and devastation instead. It looked as though the engineers had reached a problem.
That was until they were able to come up with a whole new idea that could transfer the water instead. The team created a funnel that meant the extra water in lake Berryessa could flow straight into Putah Creek instead. Most people never knew it was there – and there was a good reason they had kept it a secret.
Caught in a trap
Most of the time, the spillway never gets used. That’s because Lake Berryessa’s levels stay perfectly still, and there is no extra water that needs to be funneled away. However, California had been in a state of emergency as the state was battle the worst drought it had seen in more than a decade. There was no rainfall.
The lack of water meant that the spillway at Lake Berryessa was exposed. Many youngsters were fascinated with the bell-mouth entrance to the spillway and wanted to have some fun. A few locals decided to use it as their latest skateboarding pipe. Of course, this was dangerous, but things for California was all about to change. That’s when Evan spotted the hole.
A reason to celebrate
Many people had been hoping that the rain would finally arrive and help alleviate the drought issue that the state had been battling for so long. If they didn’t get some rain soon, then people could be put in a lot of danger, and it could have some irreversible effects. Their prayers were finally answered as storm clouds brewed in the sky.
The Napa region in the state is known for producing world-famous bottles of drink. Sadly, the lack of rain meant that farmer’s crops were suffering. They had been hit hard by the constant dry weather, but thankfully that all changed when the storms finally arrived. While most people were celebrating, something strange was happening down in Lake Berryessa.
Jumping into action
The spillway at Lake Berryessa has been designed to work whenever the water reaches more than 440 feet over sea level. As soon as it does, water pours over the edge of the spillway and disappears out of sight. It’s almost like looking at a giant bathtub when someone has just pulled the plug.
However, the water will stop draining when it returns to its normal level. The impressive hole measures around 28 feet at the base and a whopping 75 feet at the top. As the water passes into the spillway, it drops over 200 feet before it drains into the local creek. The giant hole isn’t just impressive. It can also be dangerous for people who want a closer look.
For most people looking from the safety of the shore, it seems as though the spillway is a hugely dangerous threat that could quickly end our lives. However, things might not be as daunting as they first appear. While the engineers that carved Lake Berryessa all those years ago didn’t have safety at the top of their list, many have worked to make sure that no one gets hurt.
There are now plenty of buoys around the edge to warn people that the spillway is there. Plus, there are safety barriers at the side of the lake to try and stop people from falling in. Sadly, the hole in Lake Berryessa still has a tragic past, thanks to Emily’s passing.
Not so bad
People soon worried about the hole and the fact that members of the public can get so close to the spillway. That’s when experts stepped up to offer their opinion. They say that the hole isn’t too much of a threat. That is if you follow all of the safety precautions and don’t get too close to the hole.
The team believes that anyone who is a strong swimmer should be able to get themselves away from the spillway as long as the conditions are right. The reason it looked as though there was so much water flowing through at once was thanks to the sudden shift in weather. There was now more than 30 feet of water to remove.
A rare sight
Evan uploaded the footage of the mysterious hole in the lake before he was able to find out the real reason that it was there. It wasn’t long before plenty of people from around the world had all seen the footage and gazed in amazement at their screens. It was unlike anything that most people have ever seen before.
In fact, many were just as amazed as Evan when he had first seen the hole. Believe it or not, but this type of spillway has also been seen across the rest of the world. They are pretty rare, leading many to wonder why the water in lakes is behaving so strangely, but the bell-mouth hole has been adapted by others.
Around the world
Not only had Evan been lucky enough to see a type of spillway that isn’t often seen around the world, but he also got to capture the moment for the rest of the world to see. Thankfully, spillways can funnel a huge amount of water all in one go without letting it all flow through at once. While they are an impressive piece of engineering, Lake Berryessa’s is the only one in California.
Evan knew that it was special. Other examples of this type of spillway can be seen in Japan. Hong Kong, Montana, and England, to name just a few locations. While they aren’t usually a threat, it turns out that some spillways have had devastating consequences over the years.
A local disaster
It turned out that the sudden heavy rain had been enough to cause some catastrophic results pretty near to the lake. Lake Berryessa wasn’t the only place that had suddenly found itself with a lot of water to shift, but not everywhere had been so carefully designed. Lake Oroville is located in the Sacramento area.
The lake is also built with the same three components in mind: a human-made lake, a dam, and a spillway. However, the spillway in this lake was a different design to the one in Lake Berryessa. All of a sudden, the extra water was being forced through the dam. 18,000 people had to evacuate as they were worried that it could burst at any moment.
Seeing for themselves
The main spillway and the emergency spillway were both damaged at Lake Oroville, but thankfully, the dam never burst, and the team was able to repair the damage before anyone was seriously hurt. Evan knew that he could sit back in amazement, knowing that he had been lucky enough to see the rare spillway in action.
Evan wasn’t alone. It wasn’t long until news of the bell-mouth spillway started to travel around the state, leading people from far and wide to visit Lake Berryessa to see it for themselves. Of course, if there was one thing that they had learned from Evan, it was that a drone was the best way to capture the view. This wasn’t Evan’s only brush with fame.
A sudden awakening
Around six months after Evan wowed the world with his footage of the hole in Lake Berryessa, another major event in the area saw Evan back in the headlines. Unfortunately, this one was a lot more dangerous than before. It was October, and Evan was fast asleep as it was just before midnight.
However, he was soon awakened by a continual buzzing from his phone. Evan stirred and checked the messages, but he had no idea about the mayhem that had been happening outside. Evan’s friends and family all wanted to know how he was and if he was safe. It was only then that he realized he was trapped in the middle of a disaster and needed to head to safety.
Out of control
It turned out that Northern and Southern California were quickly getting engulfed by the worst wildfires that the state had ever seen. It was fall. California had been through yet another long, hot summer, meaning that everywhere had dried out. This was the perfect fuel for the fires. It looked as though they had started thanks to a dangerous pattern of weather.
As if that wasn’t enough, the fires broke out in three different locations. As the night drew on, the fires continued to spread. To top it off, the wind around Lake Berryessa was helping to fan the flames and help them to spread even further. It wasn’t long before it looked as though things were completely out of control.
People living in Napa County soon learned the news that the fires were out of control as they ripped through the state. The sheer size of the flames were enough to worry people, let alone the speed that they were traveling thanks to the near-perfect conditions. Many residents soon feared for their lives.
No one wanted to sit back and watch their homes get caught in it all. Instead, many people in the first two days decided to evacuate the area. Evan’s dad was even one of the many who tried to get to safety. However, something kept Evan behind. While most people were running away from the flames, Evan found himself wanting to stay. He had to try and help.
Predicting the pattern
It turned out that on top of everything else, Evan was also a part of the local fire safety council. This meant that he had plenty of training when it came to these kinds of situations and knew that he needed to be there to try and make sure that everyone else in the area was safe. Evan took his position very seriously.
He started out by messaging everyone he could think that lived in the area. Then, Evan took to social media, where he posted a ton of updates about the state of the fires and how people needed to leave. Evan knew that the wind patterns meant it was likely that the fires would spread to his neighborhood.
From drone to phone
The same day that Evan warned everyone he could reach that they needed to leave the area, the official call came in that it was time to go. The state issued a mandatory evacuation notice. This meant that everyone had to get out and reach safety before it was too late. The clock was ticking, yet Evan wasn’t leaving.
He knew that his father had already gathered their valuables and taken them to safety a few days before. However, Evan needed to get to his father’s house. He had a plan. While others were feeling, Evan wanted to try and stay to help his community in any way that he could. There was no drone in sight, but Evan did have his phone.
Tracking their progress
Thankfully, his many years of using his drone meant that Evan was used to filming in all kinds of conditions. However, this was a situation that Evan had never imagined before. No longer was he trying to capture an impressive moment or create art with his films; he was trying to save people’s lives instead.
Evan’s bravery and the information that he would broadcast would soon be enough to aid thousands of people. Fire crews from across the nation traveled to California to try and tackle the blaze before it ripped through the entire state. They were also joined by Evan. He decided to stick around so that he could closely monitor the fires and tell everyone else where they would be heading next.
Keeping people informed
Evan soon knew that he needed to plan how he was going to document the fires if he stood a chance of making it out the other side. He decided the best thing to do was to take shifts. Evan slept at various hours all around the clock and worked late into the night as he documented the fire’s progress.
He just wanted to make sure that the flames didn’t make it over the top of the hill. Evan made sure that he gave regular updates through live videos and photos on his social media. This was enough to reassure many residents that their homes were still intact. Sadly, it looked as though everything was working against Evan and his plan.
Against all odds
He was no longer worried about losing sleep or what would happen to his own home. Evan didn’t even seem to be concerned about his personal safety. All he wanted to do was to try and help assure others that their houses and belongings were safe from the blaze. It wasn’t long before Evan had to find a way to get the messages out to others.
The wildfires had torn through cell towers and power lines. This meant that he needed to travel between his house and his father’s home while using a generator to keep his cell phone charged. Plus, there was only one transmitter left. Evan would have to hope that his messages made it to the people that needed them.
Caring for others
Thankfully, the families all got to see Evan’s messages as they watched closely to see if there were any updates on their homes. While some people were worried about their houses, others had another worry: their pets. A lot of people had been forced to leave them behind with no idea when they would be allowed to return.
They wanted to know that they were being fed, so they asked Evan if he could step up to the role. Evan was soon in charge of caring for more than 20 pets, including fish, cats, and birds. Without Evan’s daily checks, these animals might not have made it. Although Evan gave it everything he could, the area was about to feel the effects of the wildfires.
Donations going everywhere
All of Evan’s neighbors wanted to show their appreciation to the man who had helped to put their minds at rest and cared for their animals while they were trapped away from their homes. Plus, they hoped to try and cover the costs that Evan had spent while keeping the neighborhood up to date with all the latest developments.
They set up a GoFundMe page where they raised more than $6,000 for Evan. However, Evan wouldn’t take it. Instead, he donated it to families that had lost everything in the fires. Tragically. Over 40 people lost their lives as a result. Evan wanted to try and help some of the people who had been affected as they had to rebuild their entire lives.
Catching his break
While Evan could have ridden out his time in the spotlight, he was only doing what he felt was right. However, there was no way that he could stop the ball once it started rolling when it came to the footage of the giant hole in the lake. His social media channel used to have just a few thousand subscribers.
Now, it has more than 14 million. It was a combination of his drone-flying skills and being in the right place at the right time that saw Evan shoot to internet fame. However, it seems as though there’s a lot more to his life than first meets the eye. At least he got to witness the impressively rare incident for himself, right?