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Three-story, $3.2-million luxury yacht sinks in Lake Tahoe

In 2006, the Sierra Rose — a three-story, $3.2-million yacht complete with granite fireplaces, a jacuzzi and a deck that doubles as a helicopter landing pad — was billed as the largest noncommercial boat on Lake Tahoe.

As of Monday, it’s also the largest noncommercial boat in Lake Tahoe.

The 86-foot luxury yacht remained partially submerged Tuesday near the Tahoe Keys Marina, where witnesses said they heard sounds of tearing metal late Sunday evening when the boat was at the dock.

Heather Contreras told the Tahoe Daily Tribune she heard “a loud and prolonged tearing of metal” about 9:30 p.m. Sunday as the yacht was either pulling in or leaving a dock. The 15 or so people aboard stayed on the yacht for more than an hour, she said.

The boat settled at the bottom of the lake the next day.

The size of the Sierra Rose kept it from going completely under. The waterline reaches only halfway up the yacht’s second level. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, a big-screen TV, leather couches and floating slices of bread could be seen inside.

The yacht could be rented at rates of $2,000 per night, according to its website. A woman who answered the phone number listed on the site declined to comment.

Robert Spinnato, general manager of the marina, said in a statement that he was on scene after the boat began sinking about 3:15 a.m. Monday. Several agencies have been involved in monitoring the boat, which he said has been contained and did not leak fuel or sewage.

El Dorado County Environmental Health Manager Barbara Houghton told City News Service that county inspectors would continue to monitor the boat until a private contractor removed it, she said.

One resident said he wouldn’t necessarily be sad to see the Sierra Rose go.

“I always thought it was ugly,” Ron Parker, a clerk at the Tahoe Keys Property Assn., told The Times. “It was just huge and hideous.”

He said the boat looked like a "town home on a barge."


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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

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