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Barrel containing human remains discovered in Lake Mead

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Colorado River
AP Photo/John Locher, file

FILE--In this May 19, 2016, file photo, a boater drifts toward a boat ramp in an area that was once underwater at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Las Vegas, Nev.

Authorities say a barrel carrying human remains has been discovered in Lake Mead.

Boaters spotted the barrel Sunday afternoon and the National Park Service was alerted.

The agency said in a statement rangers searched an area near Hemenway Harbor and found the barrel with skeletal remains. They are working with Las Vegas police.

The Clark County coroner’s office will determine the person’s identity.

Shawna Hollister told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas that she and her husband were docking their boat when they heard a woman scream. They then saw the body, which also had a shirt and belt visible.

The barrel might have been visible due to Lake Mead’s low water level from ongoing drought. Police later told KLAS they believe the remains to be decades old.

A massive drought-starved reservoir on the Colorado River has become so depleted that Las Vegas now is pumping water from deeper within Lake Mead where other states downstream don’t have access.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell upstream are the largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S., part of a system that provides water to more than 40 million people, tribes, agriculture and industry in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and across the southern border in Mexico.

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