This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Human remains found in Lake Mead identified as 1974 drowning victim

Five months after a diver found what appeared to be a human bone near shore in the western fork of Lake Mead, officials have identified the remains as belonging to a Nevada man who drowned nearly 49 years ago, CBS affiliate KLAS reported.

The coroner's office in Clark County reportedly confirmed that the skeletal remains were identified as Donald Smith, a former resident of Las Vegas, according to KLAS. Officials said that Smith drowned in the reservoir in April 1974, when he was 39 years old. They reportedly identified the remains using DNA analysis and have ruled the man's death an accident, the news station reported. 

CBS News contacted the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner for confirmation but did not receive an immediate reply.

Buoys that read 'No Boats' lay on cracked dry earth where water once was at Lake Mead, Nevada, on July 23, 2022. Getty Images

Skeletal remains now linked to Smith were discovered by a concession dive operator on Oct. 17, 2022. While diving in Callville Bay — a frequented tourist spot along the stretch of Lake Mead closest to Las Vegas, which has a campground nearby as well as a marina offering boat rentals — the operator reportedly came across an object that looked like a human bone, a spokesperson for the National Park Service said in a statement released at the time. The park service then sent a team of divers to conduct a wider search of the bay and verified "the finding of human skeletal remains," the spokesperson said, adding that authorities even then did not suspect foul play.

The discovery of Smith's remains marked at least the sixth of its kind in Lake Mead's recreational areas just last year. In May, visiting boaters in Hemenway Harbor spotted a barrel carrying a body that police later identified as a shooting victim who was likely killed decades ago. The park service confirmed the first discovery of human skeletal remains found in Callville Bay, about 25 miles from the harbor, soon after that. 

Those remains were ultimately identified by the Clark County coroner as belonging to Thomas Erndt, a former Las Vegas resident who officials believe drowned in 2002, when he was 42 years old. Partial human skeletal remains were also found near the shore in Lake Mead in July, and twice in August near a recreational swimming area.

The pattern of findings came as water levels at the sprawling reservoir plummeted to alarming record-lows after decades of drought and over-consumption. Alongside viral satellite photos shared by NASA, which gave a stark side-by-side comparison of the reservoir's shrinking shorelines over the course of two decades, came a number of others that showed exposed  "bathtub rings," and ancient volcanic rock.

  • Lake Mead
  • Drowning
  • Drought

Thanks for reading CBS NEWS.

Create your free account or log in
for more features.