After a diver found what appeared to be a human bone in Lake Mead, the park searched the area and found more human remains, the National Park Service confirmed Wednesday.
The diver, who is a private business operator at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, found the bone in the Callville Bay area of Lake Mead on Oct. 17, according to park spokeswoman Stefani Dawn. The next day, a park dive team searched the area and “confirmed the discovery of human skeletal remains,” Dawn said.
The discovery marks at least the sixth time human remains have been found in the lake this year, largely because the lake’s water level has dropped due to the prolonged drought. Some of the finds have been only partial sets, so it is not clear how many people’s remains have been found.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office, which is handling the remains found this year, previously told CNN that medical examiners were still working to determine whether the partial sets were separate people.
It is unclear whether the bone found on October 17 and the remains found on October 18 belong to the same person.
“At this time, foul play is not suspected,” Dawn said. “The Clark County Coroner’s Office has been contacted to confirm the identity of the deceased.”
As a decades-long drought dries up the American West, Lake Mead’s water supply has suffered, and the banks of the man-made reservoir have receded dramatically, revealing some once-submerged remnants.
The first discovery came on May 1, when a cluster of marks was found on a corroded barrel that contained an apparent gunshot, Lt. Jason Johansson of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police’s homicide unit told CNN in August.
Investigators quickly determined the body was that of a homicide victim who died in the mid-70s to early 80s. Medical examiners are trying to identify the person through DNA analysis, although the advanced decomposition of the remains makes identification difficult, according to Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse.
Within a week of the discovery of the murder victim’s remains, another set was found near Callville Bay. Medical examiners have since identified the remains of 42-year-old Thomas Erndt, who was believed to have drowned in the lake in 2002.
Four more discoveries were made in the following months, including at least two sets of partial remains from the park’s popular Boulder Beach area.
Lowering water levels have also uncovered sunken ships, a World War II-era landing craft, and ancient volcanic rock.