Tourism & Cruises

Coast Guard suspends search for Royal Caribbean performer who went overboard

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for Royal Caribbean crew member Arron Hough, 20, who went overboard in the Atlantic Ocean on Christmas Day.

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship first reported that Hough was missing around 1:45 p.m., on Tuesday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day, nearly 10 hours after he likely went overboard. At the time, the ship was traveling from its home port of Fort Lauderdale to its first stop of St. Maarten on its seven-day Caribbean itinerary.

The Coast Guard searched the area of ocean 267 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico for 49 hours using several airplanes and a cutter ship.

“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,” said Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”

Hough was a performer on board the 6,600-passenger ship. He was from Sunderland, North East England.

Hough is the fifth person to go overboard on a cruise ship since late November. In four out of of the five incidents, the ship did not report the overboard person as missing until several hours after they went overboard.

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Taylor Dolven covers the tourism industry at the Miami Herald, where she aims to tell stories about the people who work in tourism and the people who enjoy it. Previously, she worked at Vice News in Brooklyn, NY, where she won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of NY for a national investigation of police shootings.