LCRA employee reports seeing person inside Mansfield Dam tunnel, sparking widespread search

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday morning, a chance sighting of a person in one of the tunnels at Mansfield Dam ended with a widespread law enforcement search, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority.

According to LCRA in a Tuesday briefing, early on Tuesday morning, an employee reported that he saw a man inside one of the dam’s tunnels — where no one was supposed to be.

LCRA says it promptly called law enforcement and a widespread search of the dam began to find the “gentleman” who the employee said “ran by him.”

But no one was found in the top-to-bottom search of the facility, LCRA says.

Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputies, SWAT and the Austin Police Department assisted LCRA during the search.

The initial call was to the 4400 block of Farm to Market 620 which is near Jessica Hollis Park and a power infrastructure near Mansfield Dam.

Austin-Travis County EMS was also present in support of law enforcement. ATCEMS says the call came in around 9:50 a.m.

LCRA says they are not currently looking for anyone as they’d been doing it for hours. Additionally, Phil Wilson, General Manager of LCRA, says that the dam has lots of security and the idea that someone could have gotten in “causes pause.”

Wilson said that this is the first time in six years that anything like this has happened, but that “Public safety is critical to us and all here. We want to make sure that when a call like that came in here, we responded appropriately.”

LCRA says it will do a “post-mortem” investigation into the incident.

Mansfield Dam background information

  • The dam does have an emergency action plan, which is a plan to reduce the potential for loss of life and property damage in the event of a dam failure or flood
  • The dam is required to be inspected every five years, and it has been inspected within that timeframe
  • The dam is owned by the LCRA
  • The state regulatory agency in charge of the dam is TCEQ
  • The dam was built in 1942
  • The dam is 278 feet tall
  • The dam is used for flood control, hydroelectric, irrigation and water supply
  • Law enforcement at Mansfield Dam
  • Law Enforcement at Mansfield Dam
  • Law Enforcement at Mansfield Dam

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