The Coast Guard search for a 20-year-old performer who fell off of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Christmas has been suspended on Dec. 27.
Arron Hough, a British national, fell off of the Harmony of the Seas ship that was en route to St. Maarten island from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 25, the Coast Guard told the Miami Herald.
The Coast Guard launched a search on Dec. 26 that included a Clearwater HC-130 Hercules airplane and a cutter ship—the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute—focusing on an area of the ocean approximately 267 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Royal Caribbean said in a statement that after Hough didn’t report to work on Tuesday crew members checked security camera footage and found that Hough had entered an area on the deck around 4 a.m. and was not seen on camera again.
Federal law requires cruise ships to install systems that detect when people go overboard “to the extent that such technology is available,” but most ships don’t have them, with cruise line officials claiming the technology doesn’t work properly, according to the Herald.
For instance, a spokesman for Carnival Corporation told Market Watch that current systems create too many false positives and it would be impractical and ineffective.
The ship that Hough was performing on continued on its course and arrived in St. Maarten on Wednesday.
According to his Twitter account, Hough was a performer on the ship. In his second-to-last post on the website, on Dec. 21, he wrote, “Beneath the water is beauty. Always look beneath the surface before you decide on things.”
He later posted a video showing him performing in the musical “Grease” on board. Talent agency Russell Smith Associates announced in July that Hough was joining the cast.
When the dance captain snaps in half every night.. let’s go CHACHA pic.twitter.com/bjFRHiGySo
— Arron Luke Hough (@Arronhoughxox) December 23, 2018
He had previously studied at the Urdang Academy in London, which said in a post that it was praying for him to be found.
Four other people have fallen off of cruise ships since late November, all of whom were never found. One of those cases was on the Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.
A 27-year-old crew member fell from the ship on Nov. 22 and has not been found as of yet.
According to a compilation from Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, 327 people fell overboard between 2000 and 2018, with 25 happening in 2018 alone.
Home for the next 90000 years pic.twitter.com/P73NjUpaiy
— Arron Luke Hough (@Arronhoughxox) November 20, 2018
Friend Speaks Out
One of Hough’s friends, who chose not to be named, said she was heartbroken by the news.
“Arron is the type of person people can only wish to have in their lives. He lights up any room like no one else can and everyone who knows and loves him has so many happy and cherished memories,” she told the Daily Mail.
“His infectious laugh and beaming smile is enough to pull anyone out from feeling down in the dumps. He’s helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
She added, “I hope and pray we get our Arron back home where he belongs, the light of our lives has gone out.”