Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Indian Ocean
The hunt for missing Boeing 777 could take up to a year said the Australian head of the search operation Angus Houston Reuters

Malaysian authorities said they were still considering probing a theory that the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 may be in the Bay of Bengal.

Acting transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that Malaysia had not decided whether to hire private deep sea vessels to search waters of Bay of Bengal as that would distract resources from the main search operation in the southern Indian Ocean.

"That lead can only be confirmed by physically getting appropriate vessels to search that area. But I just want to stress that by doing that, we are distracting ourselves from the main search," he said.

"In the event that the search result is negative, who is responsible for the loss of time? Having more vessels out there (Bay of Bengal) would affect the search in the affected area," he added.

The idea that the missing Boeing 777 could have ended its journey in the Bay of Bengal rather than off Australia's western coast was suggested by Australian-based company GeoResonance earlier in April.

Angus Houston, the Australian head of the search operation, said he was confident they were looking in the right place.

"I am confident that the area in the southern (Indian) Ocean is the right search area, and I'm sure that in ... some time, we'll find the aircraft in that area of the Indian Ocean," Houston said.

He added that the search could take up to a year.

"The search will take probably in the order of eight months, maybe eight to 12 months if we have bad weather or other issues," Mr Huston said.

Houston added that Bangladeshi ships, including a vessel fitted with sonar equipment, searching waters in the northern Bay of Bengal had so far came up empty handed.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared 8 March with 239 people on board while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.