Hawaiian Health Director Loretta Fuddy was killed in a small plane crash off Hawaii.
The Hawaiian health official who verified the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate died in a small plane crash.
The plane, carrying a pilot and eight passengers, went down Wednesday in the water a half mile off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Maui Fire Department said. The lone fatality was Loretta Fuddy, who has served as state health director since January 2011. Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of Hawaii’s health insurance exchange, confirmed Fuddy’s death.
Fuddy, 65, made national news in April 2011 when she verified the authenticity of certified copies of President Obama’s birth certificate. Obama had requested the release to curb claims by so-called “birthers” that he was born in Kenya and not eligible to be president.
Makani Kai Air President Richard Schuman told Honolulu-based KITV that he spoke with the pilot of the single-engine turboprop Cessna Grand Caravan after the crash.
“What he reported is after takeoff … there was catastrophic engine failure,” Schuman said. “He did the best he can to bring the aircraft down safely and he got everybody out of the aircraft.”
Schuman said the cause of the engine failure had not yet been determined. The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash; NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said that based on the location of the crash it was unlikely the plane will be recovered.
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