Luxury houseboat sinks at Lake Tahoe marina

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An 86-foot, three-story $3.2 million houseboat, complete with three staterooms and a helicopter pad, sank early Monday morning at a Lake Tahoe marina.

The Sierra Rose sat partially submerged at its Tahoe Keys Marina dock in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., according to the Associated Press.

It’s not clear what sent the houseboat underwater at the marina Monday morning, but witnesses said they heard screeching, the sound of tearing metal and a passenger shout “Oh, no!” late Sunday night. The vessel remained partly submerged, awaiting removal by a private contractor.

Witness Heather Contreras, who was visiting the marina from Turlock, Calif., told the Tahoe Daily Tribune that more than a dozen people were on the boatt at the time of the screeching noise. The boat did not immediately sink, and some people stayed on it for more than an hour after the apparent accident, she said.

No one was injured, marina general manager Robert Spinnato said.

A website detailing the three-room, three-head Sierra Rose for potential renters says it’s inspired by the streamlined luxury vessels of the 1930s, but with state-of-the-art amenities. Features include granite counters, remote-controlled fireplaces, mahogany floors, a spa and custom crystal and china. The boat rented for $8,000 for four hours.

El Dorado County environmental health manager Barbara Houghton said the holding and fuel tanks were sealed and had not leaked into the lake, but she said inspectors from the county would monitor efforts to pull the boat out of the marina.

The Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal reported that Sierra Rose LLC is the legal owner of the boat. Michael B. Stewart, who said he is the manager of the boat, said he hoped that water can be pumped out of it, allowing it to return to its normal position.

Houghton said many smaller boats can be brought to the surface using ballast, but there isn’t enough ballast to lift Sierra Rose out of the lake.

“With this size vessel, it’s not practical,” she said. “A crane is probably the way they are going to be doing it.”

Although the sunken vessel sat unceremoniously in the water, at least a few homeowners in the area were saying good riddance.

Several complained to the Gazette-Journal that they thought the boat was too big and blocked views of the alpine lake.

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