Angus Houston, the head of the search coordinating agency for the missing MH370, also said the search cost will be shared with Malaysia, but the details of the split have yet to be negotiated.
    
In an interview, he said "The info coming from the satellite data is I think is a very robust data. It’s currently being reviewed".
    
"One thing stands out in all of that work that the 7th handshake arc (in the Indian Ocean) remains the area where we will eventually find the MH370. The aircraft will be found somewhere along that arc."
    
The 7th handshake' arc is an area where the aircraft last communicated with the Inmarsat satellite.
    
"What we are doing at the moment is the world team...is working very closely with experts from Australia...to determine the most likely area along the arc where we should search," he said.
    
"And sometime in the near future we will publicly announce a search area of about 60,000 square kilometres which will be searched by deep-water technology, sideways looking sonar, towed sonar, autonomous underwater vehicles to try and find MH370," Houston said.
    
The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared from radar screens on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people, including five Indians, aboard.
    
The Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has turned up no sign of wreckage so far.
    
On the possibility to find the aircraft, Houston said, "I've tried to be realistic, I've been guarded in optimism."
    
"I said we can't confirm that there's anything down there until such time as we find something on the bottom. Certainly when we picked up those four acoustic transmissions I guess our hope went up and again, I was very guarded about that."

Houston said there is a lot of number-crunching being done to narrow the search area along the arc in the Indian Ocean, and USD 60 million has been set aside for the search itself.
    
Houston said the operations were even harder task than the search for an Air France jet that was eventually located just 6.5 nautical miles from its last known location.
    
"I think you've just got to be a little bit patient here, just hark back to Air France. The aircraft was found 6.5 nautical miles from its last known position and it took two years to find it," he said.
    
"We're dealing with a much more challenging set of circumstances where the last known position was up at the entrance, northern entrance to the Malacca Straits north of the equator," he said.
    
"We're doing the survey of the ocean floor to ensure that when we start the deep-water search we will be searching... in the right area and we'll have a really good idea of what the bottom of the ocean looks like in that particular area," he said adding "It's never been surveyed in this way before."
    
Meanwhile, Malaysian officials are due to arrive in Canberra today for talks, including discussions around funding for the operation.

(Agencies)

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