Unexpected Discovery in a Lake Sends the Internet into a Frenzy
"Expect the unexpected" is a philosophy that many people like to live by, but sometimes the unexpected goes so far beyond strange that no one could possibly be prepared for it. After all, some things simply have to be seen to be believed.
Even then, people occasionally stumble upon things that seem otherworldly and beyond any logical explanation. This exact type of situation left YouTuber Evan K — and ultimately millions of others — completely speechless. Let’s take a look!
A Day Unlike Any Other
YouTuber Evan K, also known as Evan Kilkus, has casually posted drone videos online for more than five years. The day that he captured the footage that changed his life started out like any other day.
Taking His Drone Out for a Spin
Whenever he wasn't working at a rental shop for water sports equipment, Evan K liked to fly his drone around Lake Berryessa. In fact, most of his channel was dedicated to the reservoir, which is a gorgeous bit of nature situated close to his work.
A Hole in the Lake
Pulling up all the drone footage on his home computer, Evan K expected to scroll through footage that was similar to the images he always captured — gorgeous, yes, but not necessarily unusual in any way. He was completely wrong.
Opening an Investigation
Evan K's YouTube channel wasn't big enough for his few subscribers to provide any answers, so he decided to launch his own investigation into Lake Berryessa's massive opening. After all, he worked and lived in the area, and the potentially dangerous mystery demanded answers.
A Glitch in the Matrix
Flying the drone straight toward Lake Berryessa's gigantic chasm, Evan K found himself staring right into the center of the hole he had captured the previous day. It was real — not a glitch, error or optical illusion. It was an actual physical thing.
More Questions Than Answers
When Evan K returned to his home, he discovered the source of his mysterious glitch was actually just low battery. That sounds simple enough, but it actually brought up even more questions. If his battery was fully charged before he left (it was), then what could have drained it so quickly?
Further Proof of the Unexplained
After taking multiple different shots of the baffling bit of nature, Evan K believed he had enough proof of the spectacular phenomenon to convince others of its existence. Of course, that wasn’t the only issue. One looming question remained.
Taking the Investigation Deeper
Evan K knew he couldn't continue to probe the mystery at Lake Berryessa so recklessly. If he wasn't careful, he could lose his equipment. Before taking the drone out for the third — and hopefully not final — time, it was essential to do some more investigating beforehand.
A Surprising Find
As the saying goes, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In Evan K's case, someone got hurt long before his drone ever took to the skies. While researching Lake Berryessa, he failed to find any pictures that matched the ones on his drone, but he managed to find a story that did.
Word of Mouth Travels Fast
Now realizing the stakes, Evan K knew that safety would need to come first going forward. Armed with his drone — battery fully charged, of course — he headed back to Lake Berryessa to get to the bottom of things.
According to Kevin King, the thing that finally got the attention of Napa County's water authority was the exact same thing that allowed Evan K to uncover the lake's mystery in the first place: drones. King said there were nearly 15 drones flying around the chasm at one point.
Back to 1953
It wasn’t easy to transform California from a dry, barren landscape to a bustling metropolitan haven filled with nearly 40 million people. Water was one of the most difficult issues. We need it to live, plants need it to grow and cities need it for energy. Unfortunately, California didn't have enough of it.
Monticello Dam's Purpose
Once the Monticello Dam was completed in 1957, developers felt comfortable expanding their vision for expansion. Before long, Napa Valley (and the rest of California) was considered a Land of Opportunity that was as sought-after as the rest of the United States as a whole.
Because Monticello Dam and Lake Berryessa were surrounded by all kinds of roads and other construction, it was important for the dam's engineers to consider all possibilities to ensure the safety of those in the vicinity of the dam.
Typically, spillways are installed in one of two ways: into the dam itself or in the surrounding nature. Lake Berryessa wasn’t able to handle either one of those options. Because the dam was so expensive and the lake was so narrow, there was no way either option would work.
How the Funnel Works
When water levels rise to dangerous levels, Lake Berryessa will eventually flow over the top of the funnel, travel through the tube and shoot out into Putah Creek below. Given California's frequent dry spells, the water doesn’t normally get high enough for this to happen very often.
In truth, Evan K simply managed to be in the right place at the right time to capture photos of the rarity. California had faced extreme droughts for years before he started working at his job in Lake Berryessa's rental shop for water sports equipment.
A Perfect Storm
To fully grasp all the factors surrounding Evan K's discovery, it's worth looking at the numbers. A perfect combination of figures resulted in something really life-changing for a lowly, amateur drone flyer.
Other Special Spillways
While Lake Berryessa’s special spillway was certainly a unique invention, many other bodies of water across the globe have utilized similar inventions to prevent flooding in their respective areas. From Germany to Massachusetts and all kinds of places in between, spillways are an effective tool to counter the effects of flooding.
With some genuinely captivating footage and some very interesting answers to his questions, Evan K felt confident enough to post his findings on his YouTube channel. His videos — all documenting the massive amounts of water at different points in Lake Berryessa's flooding — were practically an instant hit.
A Casual Discovery and a Concerning Development
Caught up in the whirlwind of chaos resulting from his series of spillway videos, it's easy to understand how Evan K and others could forget the unfortunate circumstances that led to the strange phenomenon in the first place. Extensive and widespread droughts throughout California could be blamed for the subsequent flooding.
Evan K's Second Job
Thankfully for the countless Californians affected by the disastrous wildfires — as well as for the subscribers to Evan K's channel — he also worked as a volunteer firefighter. A member of Napa Valley's council on fire safety, he wouldn't dare prioritize drones or YouTube videos over human lives.
Leaping into Action
On the evening of October 8, while Evan K slept, the California wildfires crept dangerously close to his home. Awakened at nearly midnight by numerous phone calls and texts, he leapt out of bed and sprang into action.
Refusing to Evacuate
In the face of extreme danger and deadly heat, Evan K wouldn’t leave Napa County until he knew its residents were all safe and out of harm's way. Even as his own father fled the treacherous area, he refused to abandon his post as a member of the fire council.
Saving Lives with Drone Footage
Armed with his drone, his remote control and a Facebook account, Evan K took his technology out onto the front lines. With many years of experience under his belt, he knew exactly how to handle his drone in the safest way possible when soaring near the flames.
Broadcasting Breaking News
As the professionals battled the intense and relentless flames tearing through northern and southern California like a wick burning at both ends, Evan K flew his drone high above the smoke to show his Facebook Live viewers exactly where the flames were headed.
In the wake of the wildfires, Napa County residents banded together to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign for Evan K. As you can probably guess based on his choices and behavior up to this point, he refused the nearly $6,000 they collected.
Evan K on YouTube
In the months after uploading his drone footage and attracting millions of new viewers, Evan K continued to post to YouTube. Throughout 2017, he shifted his attention from the spillway and focused mainly on the thing he knew best: water sports on Lake Berryessa.
The Future of Evan K's Channel
Surprisingly, Evan K hasn't posted to his channel since March 1, 2019. Whatever the reason may be — from a busy summer on Lake Berryessa to an insane number of wildfires throughout 2019 — you can be certain that he probably has a pretty good reason for not posting regularly anymore.
Evan Kilkus Today
In the couple of years since the life-changing events of 2017, Evan K’s life has been more or less unchanged. The instant fame didn't do anything to steer him away from the adventurous spirit he brings to his job at Lake Berryessa or the brave dedication he brings to his job on the fire council.