Malaysian officials are considering the theory by an Australian company, GeoResonance, that it has located the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airline Flight MH370 in the Bay of Bengal, days after Australian authorities dismissed the claims, while nothing has been found off the coast of Bangladesh, which is thousands of miles away from the official search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
Angus Houston, air chief marshal representing the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, said Friday that three navy ships from Bangladesh were scouring the area mentioned by the Australian survey company, along with one ship equipped with echo sound capability that will help ensure a thorough search in that particular area.
Despite the largest air, sea and underwater search in aviation history, no trace of the missing jetliner, which disappeared nearly eight weeks ago, has been found. Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, said the tip claiming that the wreckage could be in the Bay of Bengal could only be confirmed after a complete search of the area.
"I just want to stress that by doing that, we are distracting ourselves from the main search," Hussein said. "And in the event that the result from the search is negative, who is going to be responsible for that loss of time?"
Hussein added, "I believe we will find MH370 sooner or later," adding that the search may take another eight to 12 months.
“I am confident that the area in the southern (Indian) Ocean is the right search area, and I'm sure that in ... some time," Houston said at a joint news conference on Friday. "We'll find the aircraft in that area of the Indian Ocean.” He added that nothing has been found by the ships searching the Bay of Bengal.
Senior officials from Malaysia, Australia and China will meet early next week to decide the next steps that need to be implemented in the search for Beijing-bound Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur.
"That's a very important meeting because it will formalize the way ahead to ensure that this search continues with urgency and doesn't stop at any stage," Houston said, during a brief visit to Malaysia.
Meanwhile, families of the missing passengers said Friday that they have been asked to leave after nearly two months of waiting at Beijing’s Lido Hotel.
"Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends," the airline said in a statement released on Thursday, according to CNN.
The closure of the assistance would also mean that there will be no daily briefing to the relatives, but authorities said that the relatives will be updated with the recent developments as, and when, they happen.