Fifth set of human remains found at Lake Mead

Fifth set of human remains found at Lake Mead
·2 min read

Another set of human remains has been found in Lake Mead, the latest in a series of discoveries this summer.

Human skeletal remains were found on Monday around Swim Beach in Nevada, near Las Vegas, the National Parks Service (NPS) said.

This marks the fifth time human remains have been discovered around the lake this summer. Ongoing drought in the western US has been pushing water levels to unprecedented lows this year.

Remains were also found at Swim Beach on 6 August and 25 July. The first body, found in a barrel, was spotted on 1 May, with another spotted a few days later.

Park rangers are recovering the new remains with support from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and an investigation is ongoing, NPS said.

The first recovered body is believed to be a homicide victim from the late 1970s to early 1980s.

Lake Mead is the country’s largest reservoir, sitting on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It was formed after construction of the Hoover Dam along the Colorado River.

This year, drought has pushed water levels to unprecedented lows, shrinking the lake and revealing parts of the landscape that have been underwater since the dam was first constructed. The lake is currently at just above 27 per cent capacity.

In addition to bodies, sinking waters have revealed a boat from the time of the Second World War that had sunk years ago.

Every corner of Nevada is experiencing drought conditions, with over 99 per cent of the state in “severe” drought, according to the US government’s drought monitor.

But these conditions are just part of a decades-long “megadrought” that has hammered the US west for over 20 years. One study last year found that these extended dry conditions – powered by the climate crisis – are the driest 20-year period in the region since at least the year 800.

This week, the US federal government instituted mandatory water restrictions for some states along the Colorado River in response to this water shortage.

Earlier this year, water levels in Lake Mead had dropped low enough to uncover one of the intake pipes for Las Vegas’s drinking water system.

And conditions are likely to get worse as the planet continues to heat up. A recent study found that with every degree Celsius of warming, the Colorado River has dried up by about 9 per cent – with further drying expected as the planet gets even warmer.