The Hawaii State Health Director who authorized the release of President Obama’s birth certificate in 2011 died Wednesday when her plane went down in the Pacific near a remote island.
Loretta Fuddy was the only person aboard the aircraft to die. The others, including the pilot, were either rescued by boat or swam ashore.
The crash was attributed to catastrophic engine failure, according to the plane’s owner, who allegedly heard it from the pilot, who didn’t call for help during the long minutes between takeoff and crash landing.
Some musings/questions about this story:
1. Was “Deliana” Fuddy found by rescuers in the fuselage, as reported in many news articles, or was she found floating in the water, wearing her life vest, as told to a Catholic priest by Keith Yamamoto, deputy director of the HDOH?
2. Was communication between the plane and the tower possible, or was it not? Did the pilot radio distress or not? If not, why not? How is it that the other plane in the area was able to radio a position?
3. Fuddy’s death was announced relatively quickly. The priest opined that she may have been dead for hours when he gave her last rites. Was she pronounced dead and her family notified before her death was reported to the media? If so, when, where, and by whom was she pronounced dead?
4. Why are Fuddy and Yamamoto the only named passengers? Who was the pilot?
5. How could the NTSB so quickly declare that the wreckage is unrecoverable? Molokai is an island, which is nothing more than an undersea mountain. Given the underwater slope of the island and the fact that the crash was allegedly just offshore, how is it that the wreckage cannot be recovered?
6. Was that plane capable of a controlled landing? In other words, could it glide so that a skilled pilot could set it down intact? Given that 8 of the 9 passengers survived with few injuries, it would seem so.
7. Why did Fuddy alone die? Of what injuries? Autopsy is pending.
8. The plane left the airport at 3:15 p.m., local time. What time did the plane crash and when were the first reports of the crash received? How long before rescue workers got on the scene? How far off shore was the crash site? Some stories say a half mile; others say a mile.
After being alerted to the crash, the U.S. Coast Guard scrambled two helicopters and a Hercules plane to the site, which was about a mile from the shore. Rescue swimmers were also deployed and they winched three passengers onto the helicopters. … Joseph Ferguson [pilot of the rescue plane] … told NBC News that usually they would drop rescue gear into the water for the survivors but because the helicopters had arrived quickly so that was not required. “We acted as the on scene commander,” Ferguson, an avionics electrical technician, third class, said. “So we control all the different assets flying around there and made sure no one flew into that air space.” Maui Fire Rescue were involved in bringing others to safety. [See his photos here.]
Why did the first story cited in this post state that passengers were rescued by boat or swam ashore, and yet other stories say one swam ashore and three were hoisted into helicopters, with the rest being picked up by fire boats?
10. How is it that the owner believed that everyone was out fine and yet Fuddy either was or was not still in the fuselage, but in any case dead? How many were truly on that plane? Where is the manifest?
There are many other oddities and discrepancies in the reporting of this story, which I leave to commenters to point out. Previous discussions about her death can be read here and here. Video of the plane owner here.
We await further word on the cause of her death and, of course, the results of the official crash investigation.
Our condolences to the family of the deceased. May they learn the truth about their loved one’s death. We wish this fervently for them, as we also wish this for the families of the deceased at Benghazi–that some day they finally learn the truth about their loved ones’ deaths.