The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 shifted to another section of the southern Indian Ocean on Friday after new analysis by investigators indicated that the aircraft was traveling faster than previously thought.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says investigators have determined the plane was travelling faster and expending fuel quicker than previously estimated, reducing the distance it flew.
In a statement Friday, the AMSA said the new search area is about 319,000 kilometers. It is 1,850 kilometers west of the southwestern Australian city of Perth.
AMSA General Manager John Young said the information is the "most credible lead" so far in the search for the wreckage, but warned there is "a long way to go yet."
"This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analysis take you to a different place. I don\’t count the original work a waste of time."
The AMSA said weather conditions have improved from Thursday, when search planes were forced to fly back to Australia. It said 10 aircraft are involved in Friday\’s mission. Six boats are also relocating to the area.
The planes and ships are trying to locate and identify hundreds of floating objects that have appeared in recent satellite photos.
On Thursday, the Thai space agency said one of its satellites spotted about 300 floating objects ranging from two to 15 meters in size in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
Earlier, 122 possible objects, some of them shiny and up to 23 meters long, were seen in French satellite photos near the same area.
Officials stress the objects may not be parts of the missing aircraft, but the news is the most promising lead yet in the 19-day old search for the plane.
Malaysian officials say satellite data shows the aircraft almost certainly crashed into the sea, far from any land.
The plane went missing without a distress call on March 8, hours after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
Once wreckage is found, the search effort will then focus on finding the plane\’s flight data recorder, or black box, which should provide clues about what went wrong.
Some relatives of the flight\’s 153 Chinese passengers have refused to accept the Malaysian account of events and accused officials of withholding information.
Earlier, China\’s state news agency Xinhua said that Chinese insurance firms had begun to offer payouts to the relatives.
On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines took out a full-page condolence advertisement in the New Straits Times, saying: "Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain."
The Beijing-bound airliner disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.