Officials say the hunt for a missing Malaysian airliner has shifted to a remote part of the Indian Ocean where a British pilot believes the Boeing 777 made a controlled ditching last year with 239 people aboard.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is coordinating the search on Malaysia's behalf, said Monday that the patch of ocean southwest of Australia that Captain Simon Hardy has determined is the most likely resting place of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will be searched through December.

Australian authorities, however, said they weren't being guided by Hardy's analysis, which has been widely published in recent months. Martin Dolan, the bureau's chief commissioner, said the search was moving farther south because the southern hemisphere spring makes the extreme conditions in the southern ocean calmer.