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 local time 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.’
Meanwhile it emerged yesterday Mr Hough had posted messages on social media about feeling down and alone just days earlier.
He had been posting tweets about the ‘fake lives’ that users of social media create to keep ‘the sadness’ at bay.
Entertainer Arron Hough (right) went missing from the cruise ship Harmony Of The Seas in the Caribbean on Christmas Day
The US coastguard sent two spotter planes and a cutter back out at first light yesterday in the hope he could still be alive, but the hunt proved to be to no avail.
Jonathan Lally, a spokesman for the coastguard, said the water was 27C and waves were light with good visibility as far as the eye can see. However, he added: ‘Our search and rescue operations are dynamic but the one factor we can never put in place is a person’s will to live.’
Mr Hough, from Sunderland, was working as a singer and dancer working for the entertainment team on board Harmony of the Seas, the second largest cruise ship in the world. He has been posting videos and photos on Facebook showing him performing on board and having fun with friends at Caribbean beauty spots.
It is believed Mr Hough was performing in a production of Grease (pictured) as part of the entertainments team for the vessel. His Facebook profile lists his profession as Dancer and Vocalist at Royal Caribbean Productions
In July, talent agency Russell Smith Associates tweeted that Mr Hough (pictured right) would be joining the cast of Grease The Musical on Harmony of the Seas. He went missing on Christmas Day and has not been seen since
Harmony of the Seas (pictured on its voyage) is currently sailing on a 7-night itinerary that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday
But a week before he vanished Mr Hough posted a message on Twitter stating ‘social media is the killer of people.’
He wrote of ‘the fake lives we live on social media … pretending to all of our followers that we’re having such an amazing crazy ride when actually we’re not’.
He continued: ‘We struggle, we have hard times but we hide this with happy pictures we post … which is fine to keep sadness [hidden] but sometimes you gotta embrace the facts that you’re feeling down and you’re feeling alone.’
Mr Hough’s tweeted just days before he went missing, saying: ‘Beneath the water is beauty. Always look beneath the surface before you decide on things’
Harmony of the Seas is currently sailing on a 7-night itinerary that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday. It has port calls to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti
Arron Hough (left and right), 20, is believed to have fallen overboard from the Royal Caribbean vessel Harmony of the Seas while around 300 miles from Puerto Rico. The Foreign Office has confirmed it is ‘providing assistance to the family of a British man who has been reported missing of Fort Lauderdale’
Mr Hough is believed to have been part of a Grease production (pictured) being held on the ship for the duration of the voyage
He added: ‘But don’t think this is a bad thing, to embrace the positives you also have to acknowledge the negatives.’
A friend of Mr Hough paid tribute to him as she awaited news of the coastguard search.
She told MailOnline: ‘Arron is the type of person people can only wish to have in their lives. He lights up any room like no one else and everyone who knows and loves him has so many happy and cherished memories. He’s helped me through some of the hardest times in my life.’
Mr Hough (pictured) is believed to have been working on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship, which was on a seven-day excursion taking in locations including Philipsburg, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti
A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean confirmed to MailOnline that a member of the entertainment team onboard the ship did not report for work on December 25
In the days leading up to his disappearance, Mr Hough (pictured left and right) can be seen tweeting about life on the ship – and even shared footage of his production of Grease
Mr Hough (left) is seen larking about with friends in a picture posted to his Facebook profile in mid-November. The youngster went missing while working on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship
The crew member is believed to have been working on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Harmony of the Seas (pictured) before falling overboard
Mr Hough tweeted in mid-November that he was joining the staff of Harmony of the Seas. He is part of the entertainments team and had been performing in a production of Grease for the cruise guests
Mr Hough is from Sunderland and attended the London-based drama school Urdang Academy, according to his Facebook page. The academy are ‘praying’ for Mr Hough and his family, according to a message posted on Twitter. It added: ‘Please keep up your hope and faith that he is found safe and sound as soon as possible’
Mr Hough graduated from the Urdang Academy, a dance and musical theatre college in London, in July and started work with Royal Caribbean Productions, joining the cruise ship cast of Grease.
Harmony of the Seas is on a seven-day trip and left Fort Lauderdale in Florida on Sunday. It carries more than 6,500 guests and 2,000 crew.
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean said Mr Hough failed to turn up for work on Christmas Day.
A review of the ship’s CCTV system showed him on deck 5 – which has shops, restaurants and theatres – at around 4am but he was ‘not seen again’. Experts say the deck’s safety rail indicates an accidental fall would be unlikely.
A statement from the US coastguard said its search began after the crewmember ‘went overboard’ on Christmas Day when the cruise ship was 267 miles off Puerto Rico.