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Sunken boat recovered from Lake Tahoe after fire raises environmental concerns

Boat that caught fire and sank in Lake Tahoe recovered
Boat that caught fire and sank in Lake Tahoe recovered 02:48

NORTH LAKE TAHOE — A sunken boat on Lake Tahoe has now been recovered after catching fire in the Cedar Flat area on Sunday.

North Lake Tahoe fire crews responded quickly that day and doused the boat, which was engulfed in flames. All six people and a dog that were on board were safely rescued

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Sue Daniels, a Tahoe resident, is among several others in the community who worry about the boats that don't get recovered.

"As a boat will sink, it will have gasses, fuels, plastics and burnt things," she said. "So getting it out and keeping it out is important."

Ben Letton, assistant executive officer of Lahontan Waterboard, said, generally, sunken boats will have localized pollution in the form of petroleum on the water. He said that 25-30 sunken or sinking boats are reported every year. Some of them are not recovered.

"I think, at some point, when the water is deep enough, it's not possible to retrieve a boat," Letton said.

Letton suspects that number could be even higher due to a lack of reporting.

"It's important to report it," Letton said. "That's the first step in trying to keep the boat from sinking and having contaminants in the water."

The waterboard said the owners of sunken boats are responsible for the costs of recovery efforts.

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