Tag Archives: Flight

Worker trapped in airliner cargo bay during flight, pilots heard screaming

Worker trapped in airliner cargo bay during flight, pilots heard screaming

An Alaska Airlines flight that had just departed from Sea-Tac Airport returned to the airport after pilots heard a person banging on the cargo compartment Monday afternoon.

Alaska Flight 448 to Los Angeles returned to the airport after only 14 minutes in the air to investigate the noise from the forward cargo hold beneath the plane’s passenger compartment. Air traffic controllers gave the pilots priority over other flights to get the plane back on the ground, the airline said.

Rescue workers and airline officials discovered a baggage handler, an employee of Alaska contractor Menzies Aviation, in the cargo compartment when they opened its door. The compartment is both pressurized and temperature controlled, said an airline spokesman.

The worker told investigators he had fallen asleep in the compartment.

Both airline and airport officials were investigating the incident. The compartment carries luggage and cargo.

The trapped worker was taken to a hospital to be checked. He was able to walk away from the aircraft under his own power after the cargo door was opened.

Passenger Marty Collins told KOMO-TV that the flight was surrounded by emergency vehicles when it returned to the airport.

She said passengers did not hear the worker banging or making noise.

“Nobody on the plane heard anything like that, nobody knew why we were turning around,” she told the station. “They just said we were fine and we weren’t in any danger.”

Passengers were later told about the situation.

“They just said there was someone in the cargo hold and he’s been escorted off and taken away,” she said.

Flight passenger Jesse Sycuro told KING-TV that passengers in first class “heard banging from underneath us and a person yelling for help.”

According to Sycuro, two air marshals jumped up and spoke with a flight attendant, who alerted the pilot.

“And shortly after that, we heard the announcement that the plane was going to be turned around,” Sycuro told KING-TV. “The banging continued for quite a while we were circling. … Air marshals banged back down trying to communicate with the person in the hold and yelling down that we were landing.”

The flight departed again at 3:52 p.m. and landed in Los Angeles about 6:30, around 80 minutes late, according to the airline’s website.

Indonesia Seeks US Help Finding Plane

Indonesia Seeks US Help Finding Plane

Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane searching for missing disappear airplane plane debris
A crew of an Indonesian Air Force C-130 airplane of the 31st Air Squadron uses binoculars to scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing AirAsia flight 8501 jetliner over the waters of the Karimata Strait in Indonesia, Dec. 29, 2014.

Indonesia has asked the United States for help in locating the AirAsia jet that went missing on Sunday carrying 162 people, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

“Today we received a request for assistance locating the airplane, and we are reviewing that request to find out how best we can meet Indonesia’s request for assistance,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told a regular news briefing.

Rathke said the Indonesian request was made via a diplomatic note to the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. He declined to give details of the request.

The request came hours after the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said the missing AirAsia jet is likely on the “bottom of the sea.”

Bambang Sulistyo told reporters in Jakarta Monday the Airbus 320 with 162 people on board is presumed to have crashed Sunday off the Indonesia coast in the Java Sea.

AirAsia QZ8501 Flight Path map disappear missing search rescue
AirAsia QZ8501 Flight Path

“Based on the coordinates given to us and the evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is that the plane is at the bottom of the sea,” Sulistyo said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he has ordered a review of the country’s aviation procedures following the plane’s disappearance.

“I was very shocked and I could feel the concern, the frustration and the sadness experienced by the families of passengers, and I believe (this was) also felt by all the people of Indonesia,” Widodo said.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said 30 ships and 15 aircraft – both planes and helicopters – are involved in the search for the missing AirAsia flight that went missing early Sunday.

The vice president noted that Malaysia Flight 370, which vanished in March in deep waters off the coast of Australia, has still not been located, and other jetliners that went missing in recent years took months or longer to find.

Reports of debris

Indonesian authorities said debris sighted earlier Monday by an Australian search plane was not from AirAsia Flight 8501.

The AirAsia flight was about halfway through its route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore when it disappeared Sunday morning.

The pilot had asked air traffic controllers for permission to ascend about 1,800 meters to avoid stormy weather.

An Indonesian Transport Ministry official said permission was denied because another plane was flying in the area. After that, communication went silent. Controllers did not receive any distress call from the pilot.

The head of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes, said Sunday the airline’s top priority is taking care of the families of the passengers and crew, and fully cooperating with the investigation.

The passengers include 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one each from Britain, Malaysia, and Singapore. The seven-member crew included six Indonesians and a French co-pilot.

Aiding in search

A massive international search for the missing aircraft is ongoing. The United States, China and India are among the countries offering their resources for the operation in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Aircraft from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are already involved in the search over what is relatively shallow water – an average depth of 46 meters (150 feet).

Fernandes told reporters that until Flight 8501 on Sunday, AirAsia had “never lost a life.”

“We have carried 220 million people up to this point. Of course, there’s going to be some reaction. But we are confident in our ability to fly people. And we’ll continue to be strong,” Fernandes said.

The captain in command was quite experienced, with more than 20,000 flying hours – roughly 6,000 of those hours with Indonesia AirAsia in the cockpit of the Airbus A320.

The AirAsia plane is the second commercial airliner to disappear in 2014.

No confirmed debris has ever been found after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost contact while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March with 239 people aboard.

Passenger accused of sexual assault in airplane bathroom

Passenger accused of sexual assault in airplane bathroom

Passengers and crew has to remove bathroom door to rescue woman

by cbsnews.com

Delta airplane landing

HONOLULU — A Japan Airlines flight had to return to Honolulu after a male passenger sexually assaulted a female passenger in the airplane’s bathroom, the FBI said.

FBI agents arrested Michael Tanouye, 29, of Hilo, Saturday night at Honolulu International Airport for interfering with a flight crew and aggravated sexual assault aboard an aircraft. The sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The flight was en route to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, when Tanouye forced his way into a bathroom and sexually assaulted a woman, according to an FBI affidavit. The woman, who was returning home to Japan with her mother after a four-day vacation in Hawaii, went to use the restroom about an hour and 45 minutes after takeoff.

While struggling with Tanouye the woman was able to push the bathroom’s emergency button. The woman’s mother, the flight attendants and other passengers tried to open the lavatory door but were unable because Tanouye was blocking the door, FBI Special Agent Necosie Wilson wrote in the affidavit. They had to open the door by removing screws from its hinges.

CBS affiliate KGMB-TV in Honolulu reported that Tanouye had removed the victim’s clothing and his own and was exposing himself.

Flight attendants and passengers told the FBI that a male passenger was injured while struggling to subdue Tanouye.

Prior to the incident, Tanouye was heard shouting something incomprehensible and his mother told a flight attendant he suffers from depression and is on medication. He stood up to walk around and appeared calm, telling flight attendants he was going to visit his grandmother. Flight attendants agreed not to serve him alcohol because he was on medication.

After the incident, Tanouye’s mother gave him a dose of his medicine and he fell asleep, the affidavit said.

The captain of the plane decided to turn around two hours after takeoff after hearing it took three passengers to keep Tanouye calm.

Hawaii sheriff deputies took Tanouye off the plane when it landed in Honolulu and FBI agents arrested him, said Special Agent Tom Simon, spokesman for FBI in Honolulu. He’s being held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

He appeared in federal court for a brief hearing Tuesday, with what appeared to be an injury on the left side of his face. He replied “yes” when the judge asked if he understood the charges. He wasn’t required to enter a plea.

Defense attorney Richard Sing declined to comment after the hearing. Tanouye’s parents and sister attended the hearing and left the courthouse without commenting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang there are additional charges and “mental health issues at play.” Outside the courtroom, Butrick declined to elaborate on the pending charges, mental health issues or the facial injury.

Airlines on alert as eruption begins in Iceland

Airlines on alert as eruption begins in Iceland

Iceland volcano flights
Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano is seen Aug. 23, 2014, in this aerial picture provided by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.  ICELANDIC NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the ice of Europe’s largest glacier, prompting the country to close the airspace over the volcano.

Thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the volcano, located deep beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, in the last week. Seismic data indicated that magma from the volcano was melting ice beneath the glacier’s Dyngjujokull icecap, Meteorological Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said.

The remote area, 200 miles east of the capital of Reykjavik, is uninhabited.

The Civil Protection Department said scientists flew over the ice cap Saturday afternoon but saw no visible signs of the eruption on the surface.

Iceland volcanoStill, authorities raised the country’s aviation alert to red – the highest level on a five-point scale – indicating the threat of “significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.”

Icelandic authorities declared a no-fly zone of 100 nautical miles by 140 nautical miles around the eruption as a precaution, but did not shut down air space over most of the island nation in the North Atlantic.

“All airports are open and flights are on schedule,” said spokeswoman Olof Baldursdottir.

A 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled.

Pfeffer said it was not clear when, or if, the eruption would melt through the ice – which is between 330 to 1,300 feet thick – and fling steam and ash into the air. She said it could take up to a day for the ice to melt – or the eruption might remain contained beneath Europe’s largest glacier.

Scientists were monitoring a hydrological station downstream from the volcano for flooding, a common result of volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

Pfeffer said the amount of ash produced by the new eruption would depend on the thickness of the ice.

“The thicker the ice, the more water there is, the more explosive it will be and the more ash-rich the eruption will be,” she said.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic’s mid-oceanic ridge and eruptions occur frequently, triggered when the Earth’s plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

Well-practiced emergency procedures mean eruptions in Iceland usually do not cause deaths. Authorities evacuated several hundred people, mostly hikers, earlier this week from the highlands north of the Vatnajokull glacier as a precaution.

But the impact of the tiny island’s volcanoes has been felt around the world.

Millions of people were stranded in April 2010, when aviation officials closed Europe’s air space for five days out of fear that ash from Eyjafjallajokul could harm jet engines.

European aviation authorities later changed their policy, giving airlines detailed information about the location and density of ash clouds but leaving decisions to airlines and national regulators.

A 2011 eruption of Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano was far more powerful than Eyjafjallajokul but cause much less disruption to aviation.

The budget airline EasyJet, which flies between Britain and Iceland, said it was operating as usual. It said it would use ash-detection technology, satellite data and other information “to determine what, if any, changes it should make to its flying program” in the event of an ash cloud.

Ian Stimpson, a seismologist at Keele University, told the BBC that so far the eruption was a minor incident and did not threaten the type of chaos that Eyjafjallajokul created.

“We’re nowhere near that point at the minute,” he said.

Air Algerie flight that disappeared from radar crashed in Mali

Air Algerie flight that disappeared from radar crashed in Mali

FoxNews.com

A French Ministry of Defense official tells Fox News that the Air Algerie jet carrying 116 people that vanished from radar shortly after takeoff late Wednesday night has crashed in Mali, and that two French fighter jets have located the wreckage.

Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 roughly 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 9:55 p.m. ET Wednesday, the official Algerian news agency said.

France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told The Associated Press that the flight “probably crashed.”

The French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the plane went down near the Malian city of Gao, a city essentially under the control of the Malian government, though it has seen lingering separatist violence.

The list of passengers includes 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said. The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union.

Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane departed Burkina Faso for Algiers at 9:17 p.m. ET Wednesday, but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 1:10 a.m. ET Thursday. Swiftair said it was unable to make contact with the plane.

“In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan,” the APS news agency quoted the airline as saying.

Burkina Faso authorities also set up a crisis unit in Ouagadougou airport to update families of people on board the plane, Reuters reports.

The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers wasn’t immediately clear. Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.

The plane sent its last message around 9:30 p.m. ET, asking Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains in the area, Ouedraogo said.

A source also told Sky News that the plane asked to divert its path “to avoid another aircraft.”

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Algerian state television that 10 minutes before disappearing, the pilots were in contact with air traffic controllers in Gao.

Last week, an armed Islamist group formed by Al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar reportedly claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed a French soldier in northern Mali. In a video posted on the Internet, a spokesman for the group Al-Mourabitoun, identifying himself as Abu Assem Al-Muhajir, said the attack north of Gao, was “a response to French claims that they had annihilated the Mujahideen (Islamic fighters)”.

Al-Mourabitoun was formed last year from the fusion of two Islamist groups operating in northern Mali: the Mulathameen brigade, led by the one-eyed Belmokhtar who is thought to have masterminded an attack on an Algerian gas plant last year in which nearly 40 hostages were killed, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), Reuters reports.

A senior French official told The Associated Press that it seems unlikely that these fighters had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a plane.

The official, not authorized to speak publicly, said on condition of anonymity that they primarily have shoulder-fired weapons — not enough to hit a passenger plane flying at cruising altitude.

Swiftair took ownership of the plane on Oct. 24, 2012, after it spent nearly 10 months unused in storage, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft. It has more than 37,800 hours of flight time and has made more than 32,100 takeoffs and landings. The plane has had several owners over the years, including Avianca and Austral Lineas Aereas.

The MD-83 is part of a series of jets built since the early 1980s by McDonnell Douglas, a U.S. plane maker now owned by Boeing Co. The MD-80s are single-aisle planes that were a workhorse of the airline industry for short and medium-range flights for nearly two decades. As jet fuel prices spiked in recent years, airlines have rapidly being replacing the jets with newer, fuel-efficient models such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.

There are 496 other MD-80s being flown by airlines around the world, according to Ascend

“We’re aware of reports on Air Algerie Flight AH5017,” Boeing spokesman Wilson Chow said. “Our team is gathering more information.”

Algerian Flight disappears from radar

Algerian Flight disappears from radar

FoxNews.com

 

An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria’s capital disappeared from radar early Thursday, according to the the plane’s owner.

Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 roughly 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 9:55 p.m. ET Wednesday, the official Algerian news agency said. That means that Flight 5017 had been missing for hours before the news was made public.

Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane carrying 110 passengers and six crewmembers – including two pilots and four cabin staff — departed Burkina Faso for Algiers at 9:17 p.m. ET Wednesday, but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 1:10 a.m. ET Thursday.

Swiftair said it was unable to make contact with the plane.

“In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan,” the APS news agency quoted the airline as saying.

Burkina Faso authorities also set up a crisis unit in Ouagadougou airport to update families of people on board the plane, Reuters reports.

The list of passengers includes 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said. The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union.

The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou, the capital of the west African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers wasn’t immediately clear. Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.

An Algerian aviation official told Reuters that the last contact authorities had with the missing plane was when it was flying over Gao, Mali.

France’s transport minister, Frederic Cuvillier, told The Associated Press that the plane vanished over northern Mali.  The French army dispatched two fighter jets based in the region to search for the plane.

But officials in Mali were less certain as to where the plane could be.

“We do not know if the plane is [in] Malian territory,” Issa Saly Maiga, head of Mali’s National Civil Aviation Agency, told Reuters. “Aviation authorities are mobilized in all the countries concerned – Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain.”

A diplomat in Mali’s capital of Bamako said the northern part of the country was hit by a powerful sandstorm overnight, according to Reuters.

Last week, an armed Islamist group formed by Al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar reportedly claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing this week that killed a French soldier in northern Mali. In a video posted on the Internet, a spokesman for the group Al-Mourabitoun, identifying himself as Abu Assem Al-Muhajir, said the attack north of Gao, was “a response to French claims that they had annihilated the Mujahideen (Islamic fighters)”.

Al-Mourabitoun was formed last year from the fusion of two Islamist groups operating in northern Mali: the Mulathameen brigade, led by the one-eyed Belmokhtar who is thought to have masterminded an attack on an Algerian gas plant last year in which nearly 40 hostages were killed, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), Reuters reports.

A senior French official told The Associated Press that it seems unlikely that these fighters had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a plane.

The official, not authorized to speak publicly, said on condition of anonymity that they primarily have shoulder-fired weapons — not enough to hit a passenger plane flying at cruising altitude.

US Banning Flights To Pressure Israel Into Cease-Fire?

US Banning Flights To Pressure Israel Into Cease-Fire?

Diplomats question putting Jewish state on par with Third World

israel-airport

JERUSALEM – Officials in Jerusalem are quietly wondering whether the Federal Aviation Administration’s prohibition on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv is partially a tactic to pressure Israel into a cease-fire.

The FAA’s decision will likely impact the Israeli economy. The action, while temporary, tarnishes Israel’s image around the world, putting the Jewish state, at least for one day, on par with Third World countries where U.S. flights are banned, including Ethiopia, North Korea, Iraq, Somalia and Libya,

Related: Video on Why Israel and Hamas Are Fighting

“Due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, all flight operations to/from Ben Gurion International Airport by U.S. operators are prohibited until further advised,” reads an FAA notice to all U.S. airlines.

The FAA decision to ban U.S. flights to Israel for at least 24 hours came after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Yehud, a densely populated neighborhood about one mile from Israel’s international airport, south of Tel Aviv.

Israel Ben Gurion airport Near Tel Aviv
Israel Ben Gurion airport Near Tel Aviv

Besides the FAA ban, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines indefinitely suspended service to Israel while numerous European airlines also canceled flights, as did Canadian and Turkish airlines.

Related: Would You Choose Christianity or Islam?

Even if U.S. flights resume after 24 hours, the FAA decision sets the precedent for more flight bans in the coming days in response to any rockets hitting near the airport.

Aviation experts weighed in, explaining the FAA and airliners are likely taking necessary precautions after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down by a missile over Ukraine while at cruising altitude, killing all 298 people on board.

Aviation consultant Robert Mann told TheState.com that airlines may be taking a more proactive approach to avoid legal problems after the Malaysia Airlines disaster last week.

“It’s really forcing every carrier, every business jet operator to do their own due diligence, do their own risk assessment, given the geopolitical situation,” Mann said.

Aviation-accident lawyer Jonathan Reiter explained that flying into an airport after a rocket landed nearby could be utilized by passengers in lawsuits claiming negligence.

“I’m sure it is human concern as well,” Reiter told TheState.com, “but I think (the airlines) feel it is wise to err on the side of caution because it is their burden to prove they are doing everything possible to avoid injuries and deaths.”

Israeli officials, for their part, are publicly calling for the U.S. to reverse its decision, with Israel’s Transportation Ministry saying Ben Gurion International Airport is “safe for landings and departures.”

“Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded, and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” the ministry said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to resume U.S. flights to Israel.

Political tactic?

Behind the scenes, several Jerusalem diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity questioned whether the FAA flight-ban was in part a tactic to press Israel into a truce with Hamas. A cease-fire would tentatively stop Hamas’ rocketing of the Jewish state.

Kerry is currently in Egypt in an attempt to negotiate a truce.

State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf suggested to reporters Tuesday that Kerry may stay in the Middle East until progress is made toward a cease-fire.

Earlier Tuesday, after the decision by Delta and United to cancel flights and before the FAA ban was announced, the White House issued a statement saying the airlines were not acting on orders from the U.S. government.

What do YOU think? Is the U.S. applying undue pressure on Israel? Sound off in today’s WND poll!

Possible Black Box Pulses detected from Flight 370

Malaysia Airlines Flt 370 Possible Black Box Pulses detectedOn Saturday a Chinese ship reported possible Black Box pulses were detected from Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean.  The Chinese also stated the ship had a second detection.  However, additional pulses or “pings” have not  been detected since.

There is a race against time as the battery life on the Black Box is 30 days…which ends today.  The batteries can last up to 50 days depending on how good the batteries are.  We do know that Malaysia Airlines had a storage issue with their Black Box batteries.  Several audits of these batteries show they were stored in improper temperatures; temperatures that reduce the life of the batteries.  It is very hot in Malaysia and heat significantly reduces the life of these batteries.

Search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Possible Black Box Pulses detectedThe pings detected by this ship are near the search location calculated by satellite experts.  Other ships and a submarine are on the way to that area.  Some ships are expected to join the search today.  Ships move slow, 30 mph at best and more like 15 to 20 mph.  Just to travel 500 miles could take 25 to 30 hours.  And when searching for underwater signals, such as a Black Box ping, the ships travel much slower at 1 to 6 mph.

With the batteries running out, if they haven’t already, search crews are in a desperate race against the clock.

See our News Tracker for complete details on Flight 370’s disappearance.

Sources: CBS News

Residents of Maldives Island saw Flight 370 at very low altitude

Malaysia Airlines Flt 370The residents of Maldives Island saw Flight 370 at very low altitude over the Island.  Many residents saw and heard the aircraft saying it was very large and loud, and the altitude it was flying was unusually which drew attention to it.

Maldives Island
Click to Enlarge

The timing, 9:15am Malaysia time, has been confirmed to match the time it would have reached Maldives from the time it diverted off its scheduled flight path.  The general area also agrees with the satellites that attempted to communicate with Flight 370.  This would support the theory that the plane landed in the ocean as any airports in that area big enough to land a Boeing 777 have not seen the airplane.

When searching the home of the pilot, investigators found an advanced flight simulator which, oddly enough, had airports and other flight data in it for the Maldives area.  Investigators are still pouring this this, his home computer, and other items of interest.

Sources and more info:  The Malaysian Insider, IB Times