Plummeting water levels amid historic droughts have led to boaters making a grisly discovery in a barrel at the bottom of a lake.
The remains of a man were discovered after the steel barrel was uncovered at bottom of Nevada’s Lake Mead, 38 kilometres east of Las Vegas.
The barrel — exposed due to historically low water levels and submerged in mud —contained the body of a man who had been shot, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A couple docking their boat on the country’s largest artificial reservoir made the gruesome find on Sunday.
“I was shocked, I didn’t believe it,” Shawna Hollister told the Los Angeles Times.
“You could clearly tell it was a body.
“The legs were separate from the rest of the body, and it was clear that the person was wearing a shirt.”
Based on personal items found inside the barrel — including a pair of shoes — police believe the body may have been in the lake from sometime between the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.
Fears more bodies will be uncovered
Lieutenant Ray Spencer from the Las Vegas Metro Police told local news station, KLAS-TV, they had recovered the entire body and most of the body was fully intact.
He said they are planning on working with experts to narrow down a timeline.
While investigators now work to try to identify the skeletal remains and determine how they ended up there, there are fears more bodies will be uncovered.
“I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains,” Lt Spencer said.
“I think anybody can understand there are probably more bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead, it’s just a matter of, are we able to recover those.”
Water levels at Lake Mead are their lowest since 1937, while scientists say the drought across the western US is being exacerbated by human-made global warming.
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