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Monday, September 29, 2008 - Page updated at 11:59 AM

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Woman dies in Lake Washington boating wreck

A woman in a stationary sailboat on Lake Washington was killed Sunday when struck by a motorboat that reportedly was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Witnesses said a motorboat was traveling at a high rate of speed before it struck a stationary sailboat, killing a 37-year-old woman Saturday night on Lake Washington, according to police.

Three other people were taken to Harborview Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Seattle police say the motorboat was being driven by a 17-year-old boy around 8:45 p.m. when it collided with the rear end of the sailboat. Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said the woman was killed on impact.

A Seattle Police Harbor Patrol boat responded to the scene and began CPR on the woman, who was taken to shore and pronounced dead. A spokeswoman from the Seattle Fire Department said the woman had been thrown from the sailboat.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office did not identify the woman.

The teenage driver, whose name also was not released, was questioned and released, Witt said.

The accident occurred west of Mercer Island, off the 4500 block of Lake Washington Boulevard South near Seattle's Seward Park. Police did not say whether the crash was within 100 yards of the shoreline, where the speed limit is 7 knots, or 8 mph.

Two teenagers in the motorboat, the 17-year-old driver and a 16-year-old girl, were treated for minor injuries. A 45-year-old male on the sailboat was also taken to the hospital with a back injury. A third male passenger on the sailboat was not injured.

Witt said witnesses on shore said the motorboat hit the sailboat, went up over the back of it and struck the woman. Witt said witnesses told police the sailboat was anchored at the time of the crash. She did not know whether its lights were on, making it visible to other boats.

Seattle police are still investigating the accident.

Last year, more than 26 people died in boating accidents in Washington state, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boaters between the ages of 12 and 20 are required to take a one-time basic boating-safety class to obtain the Boating Safety Education Card required by the state. The law, which eventually will apply to everyone born after Jan. 1, 1955, applies to anyone who operates a boat powered by a motor with at least 15 horsepower.

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It wasn't immediately known whether the teen driver had taken the course.

Seattle Times staff reporter Susan Kelleher contributed to this report.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or lthompson@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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