Tyne & Wear

Arron Hough: Missing British cruise worker search suspended

Arron Hough Image copyright Facebook/Arron Hough
Image caption Arron Hough was last seen in the early hours of Christmas Day

The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for a British cruise ship entertainer believed to have gone overboard on Christmas Day.

Arron Hough, 20, went missing from the Harmony of the Seas when it was 267 miles north-west of Puerto Rico.

The alarm was raised when Mr Hough, from Sunderland, failed to report for work on Tuesday.

The coast guard halted the search after two days, describing it as a "difficult decision".

Royal Caribbean, which operates the ship, said the last CCTV footage of Mr Hough showed him heading on to the ship's deck at about 04:00 local time.

When staff realised he was missing later that day, the US Coast Guard was alerted.

Three aircraft and a ship covered more than 3,700 sq miles looking for Mr Hough before the search was called off, the coast guard said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Harmony Of The Seas is on a seven-night tour of the Caribbean

A spokesman for the US Coastguard, Jonathan Lally, said when Mr Hough is believed to have entered the sea, the water was relatively warm and visibility for a search was good.

He said: "From the time we got the initial report the sea temperature was 81F (27C) and the air temperature was was 71F (21C).

"We also had 10 miles of visibility which is pretty clear. We factor in a lot of things such as sea temperature and wave height."

He added: "There are cases when a person has survived for days in the water."

'Painful time'

Mr Lally said suspending a search was "one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly".

He added: "Anytime we go out on a search and rescue there is always that hope that we are going to bring someone back and reunite them with friends and family.

"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.

Mr Hough attended London drama school Urdang Academy, which posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday saying it was "praying" for the entertainer and his family.

His talent agency, Russell Smith Associates, tweeted in July that Mr Hough would be joining the cast of Grease The Musical.

Harmony Of The Seas is on a seven-night tour that left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 23 December, calling at St Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Haiti.

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