Tributes have been paid to a 20-year-old performer who went missing while working on a cruise ship over Christmas.
Arron Hough, a performer in Grease the Musical on the Royal Caribbean ship Harmony of the Seas, fell overboard in the early hours of Christmas Day when the vessel was 267 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.
The US Coast Guard conducted a two-day search for the performer, but called it off on December 28.
Hough’s agent, Russell Smith Associates, said the company was “heartbroken” by the incident.
“Arron is truly one of the most talented dancers and performers that we have discovered as an agency. His passion for the industry and exquisite dance technique is undeniable.
“Our hearts are with his family right now and we will be doing all that we can to help them moving forward from here.”
A fundraising page set up to support his family has raised nearly £14,000 in the week since his disappearance.
Hough joined Harmony of the Seas earlier in 2018, and had trained at London drama school Urdang Academy, which said it was praying for Hough and his family.
Performers have since taken to social media to pay tribute to Hough, and praise his “incredible” talents.
Arron is just incredible. One of the most talented people I’ve ever seen. Sending love to his family, and I’m proud that all of us at @Urdang_Academy are supporting each other and his family, and sharing the happy memories and beautiful photos of this wonderful person.
— Charlotte Weller (@rellewettolrahc) December 29, 2018
Some warned that working as cruise-ship performer can be an isolating or difficult experience, and called on cruise employers to ensure the mental health and well-being of onboard staff is supported by professionals.
Totally agree, I worked at sea it’s tough and Christmas Day was probably my toughest. Cruise lines do not recognise mental health issues and have plenty of people queuing to work on cruise lines and they know it, maybe all this publicity might make the industry wake up.
— nick (@nick31771989) December 30, 2018
Royal Caribbean said of its support for staff: “We have and continue to provide our crew with access to medical staff onboard, including immediate referrals to specialists when warranted. Treatment is also available when crew members are on shore.”