Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there's a credible
new lead in the search for the Malaysia Airlines jet, which
went missing almost three weeks ago.
Mr Abbott has been briefed on new radar data analysis which
has prompted authorities to shift the search area 1100
kilometres to the northeast, following updated advice from
the international investigation team in Malaysia.
The search zone is now about 319,000sqkm and some 1850km west
The analysis is of radar data between the South China Sea and
the Strait of Malacca before contact with MH370 was lost.
"This is a credible new lead and will be thoroughly
investigated," Mr Abbott said in a statement.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it
indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously
estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the
possible distance it travelled south into the Indian Ocean.
"The potential flight path may be the subject of further
refinement as the international investigative team supporting
the search continues their analysis," AMSA said in a
The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation is
re-tasking satellites to image the new area.
The search has been hampered by bad weather twice this week
but conditions improved on Friday morning as search aircraft
began departing from RAAF Base Pearce, near Perth, after 6am.
There are nine military aircraft, including two Royal
Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard
jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a
Republic of Korea C130 Hercules, a Royal New Zealand Air
Force P3 Orion, a Chinese military Ilyushin IL-76, and a US
Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.
One civil aircraft will as a communications relay in the
Another RAAF P3 Orion is on standby at Base Pearce.
Six vessels are heading to the new search area, including
HMAS Success and five Chinese ships.