A Hawaii plane crash has claimed the life of the woman who released a copy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate in 2011, re-opening conspiracy theories that the president was actually born outside the United States.
Loretta Fuddy, director of the Hawaii Department of Health, died in a plane crash off the island of Molokai, authorities said on Thursday. The airplane went down close to 300 yards off the island’s Kalaupapa peninsula during a flight across the island.
Eight people survived the Hawaii plane crash, including the pilot and seven other passengers, one of whom swam back to shore.
Fuddy did not survive the crash.
“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,” said Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, who appointed Fuddy in 2011.
Richard Schuman, owner of Makani Kai Air, said the pilot tried to bring the plane down safely after it experienced engine trouble, and after the crash tried to keep the passengers together.
Fuddy released President Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011, going against department policy of only releasing a computer-generated certified copy to the public in an effort to quell theories that Obama was not born in the United States.
But even this was not enough for the most dedicated of “birthers,” some of whom still maintain that Obama was born in Kenya. Controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio said he believes the document was a forgery, and even put investigators on the case.
“Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated, I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” Sheriff Arpaio said last year. “My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in paper format as claimed by the White House.”
The circumstances of the Hawaii plane crash have now re-awakened the conspiracies for many. A number of skeptics voiced their doubts on Twitter, with posts that included: “The WH tying up loose ends?” and “R.I.P. Loretta Fuddy — we’ll know the truth about Barack Hussein Obama, regardless.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the Hawaii plane crash and that it would issue a report within two weeks.