It's been three months since Barbara and Gerald Heil left their home in White Bear Lake and set off on a cruise ship vacation along the picturesque shore of Italy. Today, a local Italian government said it had identified the couple's bodies, trapped in the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia January 13.
St. Pius X church directory photo/AP
Gerald and Barbara Heil St. Pius X church directory photo/AP
The cruise ship sailed too close to the coastal rocks of Tuscany, eventually foundering and tipping the ship on its side. Hours of pandemonium followed as people searched for escape or even instructions. Taped recordings reveal an Italian Coast Guard captain angrily ordering Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino to get back on the vessel he just abandoned, where people remained in distress.
The Heils and 28 other people never made it to safety. Their bodies were found March 20, but Italian authorities spent several weeks examining the victims before identifying them, says AP. Today's named victims include a German couple, Christina and Norbert Ganz and Guiseppe Girolamo, a crew member from Italy. Two people remain missing from the wreck.
The Heil 's daughter, Sarah, told WBBM her parents had wanted to travel and were looking forward to their 16-day vacation.
Captain Schettino is under house arrest in Italy, facing several charges, including manslaughter, abandoning ship and destroying a natural habitat, according to CNN. Seven officers, including the ship's first officer, are also under investigation.
Vanity Fair's latest issue features a frightening description of the wreck's danger from survivors. It also has remarks from a nautical analyst who says one of Schettino's mistakes was improperly dropping the anchors, which made the vessel list even more dangerously.