One dead, one injured in Long Lake boating crash


One woman is dead and a man was injured while operating a boat on Long Lake in Washburn County.

According to a news release issued by Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden, the sheriff's department was called to Long Lakes around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on a report of a boating mishap.

Merle E. Piacenti, 62, of Peru, Ill., was operating the boat when it slammed into the bank of Long Lake. He was transported by ambulance to the crossroads of County Highways M and B where a Life Link helicopter air lifted him to Regions Hospital with significant injuries.

Deputies also located a Betty Piacenti, 82, of Ladd, Ill., in the boat. Washburn County Coroner Karen Baker pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and sheriff's department preliminary investigation revealed the 17-foot boat operating with a 115 horse power motor slammed into the shoreline at a high rate of speed, causing severe damage to the craft and driver's console.

It is unknown what caused the boat to strike the shoreline, Dryden stated. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is still investigating this incident.