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More human remains discovered at Lake Mead as water level sinks amid severe drought

"Mega-drought" threatens Western water supply
Lake Mead's low water level prompts feds to consider declaration of Colorado River water shortage 04:33

National Park Service personnel are investigating another witness report of human remains found at Lake Mead, the agency announced Monday. 

Few details were made available about the apparent discovery at the time of the announcement, which the NPS released soon after park rangers received the witness report around 4:30 p.m. EST. According to the NPS, an unidentified person uncovered the body while visiting a portion of Lake Mead National Recreation Area called Swim Beach, located in the reservoir's boulder basin area about 30 miles east of Las Vegas.

Lake Mead Human Remains
Rusting debris that used to be underwater sits above the water level on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Monday, May 9, 2022, near Boulder City, Nev. John Locher / AP

Park rangers arrived at the scene on Monday afternoon, the NPS said. While rangers set a perimeter to mark and close off the area where they intended to recover the reported remains, officials notified the Clark County Medical Examiner who will determine a cause of death. As a formal investigation into the incident is ongoing, authorities said they could not yet provide any additional information.

Monday's discovery was the latest in an unnerving series of similar reports. As a severe and ongoing drought caused the water level at Lake Mead — the largest reservoir in the United States, spanning roughly 120 miles between eastern Nevada and western Arizona — to sink to its lowest point in nearly a century, human remains were found near its new shores multiple times this year.

Days after boaters spotted a barrel carrying a body at Hemenway Harbor, just three miles away from Swim Beach, last May, the NPS reported that human skeletal remains were discovered about 25 miles north at a different section of Lake Mead called Callville Bay. Local police later said they had identified the body found at Hemenway Harbor as a shooting victim whose shoes indicated that they were likely killed in the mid-1970s or early 1980s.

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