eb wrote:In the last 10 years, 275 people have died at the site and no one had previously survived swimming across its breadth.
275 fatalities? What?!
I would think most if not all of those are suicides. Famous places become popular suicide sites. I visited there in 2010 and I don't remember seeing any signs about suicide prevention. I remember somewhere recently where they had signs offering help if you were distressed, numbers to call, etc. Cliffs of Mohr had that in Ireland, but I think I have seen something similar in US, but I can't remember the venue.
My Dad worked at Hoover for 15+ years and from the stories he would tell, I believe the number is much higher than 275. And yes, most are suicides. The nasty part is, from the top the dam looks more or less straight down when actually there's a curvature to make it wider at the base. The jumpers end up skipping down the face and exploding when they hit the wall at the bottom.
On the lighter side - I was able to get behind the scenes tours of the dam. The bottom floor looks like an empty Game of Thrones dungeon with small compartments and dim lighting but each compartment has a brightly colored life ring. Like you're going to be able to float out of that maze. And the walls seep water. Very comforting. Also got to stand inside one of the penstocks which are massive. A friend designed a scaffolding system for maintaining the tubes. The whole place is a marvel. Just needs more water behind it.