State health director killed in Hawaii plane crash

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HONOLULU — Authorities say the woman who died in a plane crash in waters off the Hawaiian island of Molokai was the director of the state Department of Health, Loretta Fuddy.

Fuddy was aboard a small commercial plane that crashed Wednesday with nine people aboard.

Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of Hawaii's health insurance exchange, confirmed Fuddy's death.

Health department spokeswoman Janice Okubo says Fuddy was on the island for an annual visit to Kalaupapa, a remote peninsula that is a leprosy settlement run by the state. Hawaii once exiled people with leprosy, or Hansen's disease, to the settlement from 1866 through 1969.

As director, Fuddy was in charge of several health operations for the state. Most recently, her department transitioned its system for marriage licenses to allow gay couples to wed under a new state law.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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