A small plane with nine people aboard went down off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Molokai, killing one person -- the state's health department director, Loretta Fuddy.
The Wednesday crash put an unexpected spotlight on Fuddy, 65, who had helped implement
During the presidential campaign in 2008, so-called birthers -- including
In 2011, Fuddy verified that the birth certificate was legitimate and Obama released the long-form version. That, however, failed to placate everyone, which is why Fuddy's death has added fuel to the conspiracy theory fire.
Some examples of what was being posted on social media:
The Cessna that Fuddy was a passenger in crashed into the ocean after leaving Kalaupapa Airport on Molokai around 3:15 p.m. local time Wednesday.
The eight other people on the plane, including the pilot, were rescued, but one "person remained in the fuselage of the plane," Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig told KHON-TV. "It's always a different situation when you're not able to get everybody out."
Makani Kai Air President Richard Schuman said Wednesday that he didn't know if the pilot had called for help before the plane went down.
An aircraft circling nearby spotted the passengers in the water and the wreckage and reported it, he said.
Fuddy was apparently headed to Honolulu from Kalawao County, a park on the north coast of the island of Molokai and the home of the state's former leper colonies. The director of the health department also serves as the mayor of Kalawao County.
“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 Gov.