A frantic search is under way for a young dancer believed to have plunged from a cruise ship several hundred nautical miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The alarm was raised after crew member Arron Luke Hough, 20, failed to show up for the Christmas Day performance of iconic musical Grease on board Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas.

An HC-130 Hercules aeroplane and Coast Guard Cutter Resolute search vessel have been scouring waters 267 nautical miles from the port of Aguadilla for signs of the British national.

Mr Hough, described as a much-loved member of the ship’s entertainment team, was last seen at 4am on December 25 when security cameras captured him on Deck 5 of the vessel.

He is believed to have fallen overboard shortly afterwards although circumstances surrounding the incident remain murky and the subject of investigation.

It has since emerged that Mr Hough posted an unsettling series of tweets in the days leading up to the horror incident.

The first, posted at 6.38pm on December 22, suggested he was not coping well with turbulent conditions on board.

“Just downed a full bottle of water n the ships rocky af and I can feel it swilling around in me gut and it’s not that nice tbf,” he wrote.

He followed up with a cryptic message four minutes later which said: “Beneath the water is beauty. Always look beneath the surface before you decide on things.”

His final tweet, posted at 10.17pm the same night, was upbeat and featured a clip of him dancing in the ship’s production of Grease earlier in the evening.

Cruise officials said security footage indicated Mr Hough went overboard but stopped short of confirming whether his fall was caught on tape.

“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,” a Royal Caribbean International spokeswoman told Travel Weekly.

“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.”

Friends and family of Mr Hough have refused to give up hope he will be found alive, starting a hashtag campaign #PrayForArron on social media.

They included teachers and former fellow students of London musical theatre school Urdang Academy, where Mr Hough trained.

“We are all praying for @Arronhoughxoxand his family. Please keep up your hope and faith that he is found safe and sound as soon as possible,” the college tweeted today.

Hashtag Pray for Arron

Mr Hough’s mates on board the ship and in Sunderland, the northern English city where he is from, are struggling to comprehend the news, with one telling MailOnline they were “heartbroken beyond words”.

“Arron is the type of person people can only wish to have in their lives,” the unnamed friend told the outlet.

“He lights up any room like no one else can and everyone who knows and loves him has so many happy and cherished memories.

“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.

“I hope and pray we get our Arron back home where he belongs, the light of our lives has gone out.”

Mr Hough is reportedly the fifth person to have fallen from a cruise ship since November.

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