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Hawaii health official killed in plane crash

Source: Reuters - Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:31 PM
Author: Reuters
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By Christopher D'Angelo

Kauai, Hawaii, Dec 12 (Reuters) - A senior state health official was killed in a plane crash off the Hawaiian island of Molokai on Wednesday afternoon, officials and local media reported.

The plane came down about half a mile (0.8 kilometers) northwest of the island's Kalaupapa peninsula, said Maui Fire Department spokesman Lee Mainaga.

Hawaii Department of Health director Loretta Fuddy was killed in the crash, which her deputy Keith Yamamoto survived, said department official Fenix Grange.

All of the plane's seven other passengers and the pilot escaped with various injuries, said U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue controller Darin McCracken. One survivor swam to shore, he said.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Fuddy as health director in 2011. She had previously held other leadership positions in the state, including chief of the Family Health Services Division.

The cause of the crash was unclear. Local media said the flight was operated by Makani Kai Air, which did not immediately return calls requesting comment. (Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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