The woman, who gained notoriety after she presented Barack Obama's birth certificate in 2011, has died.
Loretta Fuddy was the director of the Hawaii Department of Health and was a passenger in a single-engine plane with nine other people on board. The plane went down approximately 300 yards off Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula on Wednesday during an inter-island flight.
The others, including the pilot, survived the crash - one passenger even swam to shore to safety.
A spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Health said Fuddy's deputy, Keith Yamamoto, was among the passengers who survived the crash of the Cessna 208 Caravan.
"Our hearts are broken. Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii," Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, who appointed Fuddy in 2011, said in a statement.
The Governor went on to say, “We send our best thoughts to her family and will do all in our power to reflect her professionalism, her love of Hawaii and the high standard she set for herself and all of us.”
The flight operators, Makani Kai Air, fly between Oahu and Molokai on a regular basis.
When the local news officials with KITV4 spoke with the airline owner, Richard Schuman, he revealed that the plane crashed due to engine failure and that the pilot tried to bring the plane down safely and keep the passengers together after they were in the ocean.
According to the Coast Guard, Fuddy had a life jacket on, but she either let go or slipped through it - and drowned. Coast Guard Lt. Kevin Cooper, who helped coordinate the rescue effort from Oahu, said life jackets were key factors for surviving the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration is going to investigate the crash further in an effort to report exactly what caused the plane to go down into the Pacific.
Although, the National Transportation Safety Board stated they would issue a preliminary report within 10 to 14 days, the plane was probably not going to be recovered anytime soon. The location of the wreckage, combined with wind and wave conditions, likely means it won’t be recoverable, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss added.
“We handle lots of investigations in which the airplane is not recoverable,” he said. “The fact gathering on the ground continues.”
Fuddy was the one who released the birth certificate of President Obama in an effort to satisfy the so called "birthers" who claimed that Obama wasn't born in the United States. She said that "in recognition of your status as president of the United States," she was making an exception to her department's policy of only releasing a computer-generated certified copy. Fuddy also said that she had viewed the records that “further prove the fact that he was born in Hawaii.”
Obama then released a longer version of his "proof of birth" in the U.S. that finally put a stop to the unsound allegations.
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