The Maui News - State Health Director Loretta Fuddy, 65, was the only fatality among the nine people on a plane that crashed on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The passengers stayed calm as the aircraft glided toward the ocean and made a smooth belly landing.
The single-engine turboprop plane had just taken off from Molokai and was making a turn toward Honolulu when the engine failed.
A passenger said, "She was doing fine out of the airplane." When Coast Guard rescuers flew to the crash, there was no sign of the sunken plane.
A team of rescue swimmers and pilots maneuvered two helicopters and an HC-130 airplane about 50 feet above the water, using flares as a guide to locate two clusters of passengers.
Rescue swimmer Mark Peer said when he got to Fuddy, she wasn't responsive and he couldn't find a pulse. In the final moments of her life, Fuddy, who played a role in making President Barack Obama's birth certificate public in 2011, clung to the hand of her deputy, Keith Yamamoto, while floating in the water.
Makani Kai Air owner Richard Schuman said he didn't know why the engine of the 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan failed. The aircraft had no previous problems. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.