BOULDER CITY, Nev. — For the second time in under a week, visitors to Nevada’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area have stumbled upon human remains in the drought-stricken water reservoir.
The remains were spotted around 2 p.m. Saturday by two sisters who were paddleboarding in the Callville Bay area of the lake, according to The Associated Press. Lake Mead, a reservoir of the Colorado River formed by the Hoover Dam, is the largest water reservoir in the U.S.
Lindsey and Lynette Melvin of Henderson were on the water when they spotted something unusual in the sand of Callville Bay.
“At first, I thought it was a bighorn sheep, and then we started digging around a little bit,” Lindsey Melvin told KLAS in Las Vegas. “As we discovered the jaw, we realized it was human remains, and that’s when we contacted park rangers to come and investigate.”
The National Park Service confirmed the find in a news release on Sunday. Rangers set a perimeter in the bay to recover the remains.
The Clark County medical examiner is trying to identify the remains and determine a cause of death, the news release said.
The grim discovery comes six days after boaters on the lake spotted a corroded barrel near the boat ramp at Hemenway Harbor. Inside the barrel were the heavily decomposed remains of a man’s body.
The unidentified man, who died of a gunshot wound, had likely been on the bottom of the lake since the mid- to late-1970s or early 1980s, according to Las Vegas police officials. Authorities said the Kmart clothing he wore had been manufactured around that time frame.
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Authorities believe the barrel containing the man’s body was dumped into the lake via a boat. KLAS reported that detectives believe the barrel was intact when it was deposited into the water.
The container would have likely remained undetected if not for dropping water levels.
“The water level has dropped so much over the last 30 to 40 years that, where the person was located, if a person were to drop the barrel in the water and it sinks, you are never going to find it unless the water level drops,” Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Spencer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “The water level has dropped and made the barrel visible. The barrel did not move. It was not like the barrel washed up.”
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Spencer told KLAS after the first body was found that he anticipated additional bodies surfacing amid the drought conditions.
Water authorities announced late last month that they were pumping water from deeper in Lake Mead than usual due to drought conditions. The AP reported that the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s uppermost intake valve had become visible above the surface of the lake.
Lake Mead provides Las Vegas residents with about 90% of their drinking water.
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