(NYPOST) – A weekend outing in the waters off Long Island turned into tragedy when a powerboat slammed into a sea wall, killing a 27-year-old woman and seriously injuring three other people aboard, including the craft’s operator, who was charged with boating while intoxicated, officials said.
Kelley Blanchard, of Riverhead, was killed when the 39-foot Cobalt struck a bulkhead about 50 yards from the entrance of the James Creek on Great Peconic Bay in Mattituck about 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Newsday reported.
The boat’s operator, Frank DiStefano, 48, of East Northport, and passengers Nick Soullas, 41, of Jamesport, and Megan Blanchard, 29, of New Suffolk, Kelley’s sister, all suffered severe injuries.
DiStefano, who was charged with boating while intoxicated, owns the Michelangelo pizzeria in Southold, where Kelley and Megan have worked as waitresses, a former manager at the eatery told The Post.
William Blanchard, the girls’ father, said Megan was due to undergo surgery Monday and that doctors “think she’s going to be okay.”
Maryse Bransfield, 66, who used to supervise the sisters at the restaurant, said she was praying for Megan.
“I love those girls. Right now I don’t know if Megan will survive the loss of her little sister. They love each other so much, so close. Extremely close. One wouldn’t go anywhere without the other. If one quit a job, the other would have to quit,” she said.
“They live life to the fullest. They love life, always happy, smiling, dancing. They love dressing up for Halloween. They always had the best costumes. They were fascinated with Halloween,” she added, struggling to maintain her composure.
Two of the victims were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, while the other survivor was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where Kelley was pronounced dead.
The Blanchard sisters grew up together in a house on South Harbor Road in Southold, neighbor Joe Elak, 66, told The Post.
“Very nice girls. I can’t believe it. So sad,” he said.
The incident is under investigation by the Southold Town Detective Division.