Yet more human remains found as drought shrinks Lake Mead reservoir

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<span>Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A fourth set of human remains has been found at the shrinking reservoir of Lake Mead as the drought gripping the western US continues to blaze and sends its water levels plunging.

Related: Lake Mead: shrinking waters uncover buried secrets and grisly finds

The fourth set of skeletal remains was found on Saturday at Swim Beach in Nevada, and are now being assessed by the local Clark county coroner. The identity of the body is unknown, nor the manner of death.

“Park rangers responded and set a perimeter to recover the remains with the support from Las Vegas Metropolitan police department’s dive team … The investigation is ongoing,” the National Park Service said in a statement.

The lake is now at its lowest level for more than 80 years, posing a dire threat to a water source that is crucial for 25 million people. The dry spell has dried out its tributaries, threatened key hydropower production and hurt tourism at what is a popular recreation site for many hundreds of miles.

But it is the regular discovery of bodies as the water recedes that has captured a gruesome slice of the public imagination in the US – and beyond.

In May boaters spotted a barrel containing the remains of a man shot between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s that some speculated may have been a mob hit. A week later two sisters paddleboarding found a skeleton emerging on a sand bar. And then a third set of bones was found at a popular swimming beach.