NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Authorities say a piece of the space shuttle Columbia may have been found in a drought-stricken Texas lake.

The shuttle broke apart and burned in February 2003, killing seven people and scattering shuttle pieces across East Texas.

Nacogdoches (na-kuh-DOH'-chis) police on Monday announced that an item described as about 2 metres in diameter and "full of mud" was recovered from a lake that had seen its water levels drop because of the drought.

Sgt. Greg Sowell says the lower water level has exposed a larger than normal area on the north side of Lake Nacogdoches. Sowell says a large, round object became visible and it's very possible that the item was part of Columbia.

Police have notified NASA and provided photos. Any shuttle pieces are government property.