CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. – Hope Mills Lake drained after part of the lake's dam may have washed away.
Engineers believe water flowed under large concrete slabs in front of the dam wall causing a massive hole.
Officials say it may be months before they find out exactly what happened.
Town Manger Randy Beeman said he is very upset and wants answers. "We will be reviewing all options as we move forward in the investigation of this structure and of the construction," he said.
The dam was built in 2008 and cost $14 million. The old dam washed away in a storm seven years ago.
Officials say they became aware of a draining problem with the dam on Wednesday. To fix the issue, they were going to release two feet of water slowly to protect wildlife.
But something went wrong in the process, causing part of the dam to wash away.
The lake has been in the news over the last week due to an alligator spotted swimming in the water. Residents say the lake is an important fixture in the community.
“I learned to swim here. I learned to water ski here hen they allowed boating in the 70s, so the lake is very important to Hope Mills,” resident Jimmy Clark said.