Loretta Fuddy was the only fatality when a small plane in which she and eight others were passengers crashed off the Hawaiian coast, NBC News reported.
The other passengers aboard the Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft were rescued and treated for non-life threatening injuries, said Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air.
Deputy Health Department Director Keith Yamamoto was among the survivors, a department spokeswoman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The plane went down about a mile offshore shortly after leaving Kalaupapa Airport on the island of Molokai about 10:15 a.m. ET Wednesday.
The U.S. Coast Guard sent two helicopters and a Hercules plane to the crash site. Rescue swimmers hoisted three passengers onto the helicopters.
The Maui Fire Department said Fuddy did not appear to have made it out of the plane, Hawaii News Now reported.
"They said that that person remained in the fuselage of the plane, but we don't have much details on that at this time," said Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig.
Fuddy was appointed health director by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in March 2011. The next month, President Obama asked her to approve a waiver allowing him access to certified copies of his birth certificate, an issue that had surfaced during his 2008 campaign.
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