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Search for missing British cruise ship entertainer suspended

Arron Hough, 20, was reported missing on Christmas Day.

Arron Hough disappeared from Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Arron Hough disappeared from Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing British cruise ship entertainer.

In a statement, the coast guard said it had ended the search for 20-year-old Arron Hough at about 2.30pm on Thursday, after he reportedly went overboard on Christmas Day.

Crews covered more than 3,700 square miles and searched for a combined total of 83 hours, with the rescue mission involving three different aircraft and the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, the statement added.

Commander Christopher Douglas, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response, said: “We’ve been in contact with members of Mr Hough’s family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them.

“Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”

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Arron Hough, 20, went missing from the MS Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean, which is pictured leaving Southampton in 2016 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Royal Caribbean vessel, named Harmony Of The Seas, was 267 miles (430km) north-west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico,  at the time of Mr Hough’s disappearance on December 25 and was travelling to Philipsburg, St Maarten.

The search was suspended two days later.

The last CCTV footage available of Mr Hough showed him heading on to the ship’s deck at around 4am, according to a statement issued by Royal Caribbean.

However, staff on board the ship only realised he was missing when he did not report to work later that day.

The United States Coast Guard was alerted to Mr Hough’s disappearance at 1.45pm.

Royal Caribbean and the coast guard were unable to confirm how far the ship had travelled during that time.

Mr Hough attended the London-based drama school Urdang Academy, according to his Facebook page.

On Wednesday, the academy posted a message on Twitter saying it was “praying” for Mr Hough and his family.

In July, talent agency Russell Smith Associates tweeted that Mr Hough would be joining the cast of Grease The Musical on Harmony Of The Seas.

The Royal Caribbean website says Harmony Of The Seas won the title of largest cruise ship in the world in 2016.

The ship cost one billion US dollars (£695 million), can carry 6,780 guests and 2,100 crew, and took more than two-and-a-half years to construct.

The website says it is the first ship to feature the Broadway hit musical Grease as part of its entertainment programme.

Harmony Of The Seas departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday for a seven-night cruise including calls at Philipsburg, St Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti.

PA

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