Search called off for Sunderland entertainer Arron Hough, missing from luxury Caribbean cruise liner Harmony of the Seas

The Tweet from Russell Smith Associates announcing Arron Hough would be joining the Harmony of the Seas
The Tweet from Russell Smith Associates announcing Arron Hough would be joining the Harmony of the Seas

The search for a missing Sunderland cruise ship entertainer who is feared to have gone overboard on Christmas Day has been called off.

The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing 20-year-old Arron Hough.

In a statement, the coast guard said it had ended the search at about 2.30pm on Thursday, after he reportedly went overboard on the Harmony of the Seas on Tuesday.

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.”

The alarm was raised over Mr Hough when he did not report for work on the ship - nearly 10 hours after he is believed to have gone missing.

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

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, a spokesman said.

The vessel was 267 miles (430km) north-west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at the time and was travelling to Philipsburg, St Maarten.

The United States Coast Guard said it had deployed a Clearwater HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute in the search.

Royal Caribbean and the United States Coast Guard were unable to confirm how far the shiptravelled during this time.

A spokesman for Royal Caribbean said: "We are saddened to report that after a review of the ship's closed-circuit camera footage, he was observed entering an area on Deck 5 at around 4am and was not seen again.

"Local authorities were notified and a ship-wide search for the crew member was conducted.

"Our care team is providing support to the family and friends of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time."

Mr Hough's Facebook page says he is from 'City of Sunderland' and went to The Urdang Academy, an independent performing arts academy in London.

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