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White Bear Lake Couple Was On Italy Cruise Ship

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A couple from White Bear Lake, Minn. is among those missing from the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed and tipped over off the Italian coast, according to family members.

Gerald and Barbara Heil were reportedly on board the ship but have not been accounted for. Their son, Aaron Heil, said the American embassy has been great, but they continue to wait.

He said “it’s dark right now” so they don’t have much information on what is happening or the status of the search.

Aaron’s sister, Sarah Heil, told Chicago’s WBBM Newsradio the American embassy in Rome has confirmed their parents are still missing.

She said her parents had been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

Read Sarah Heil’s full interview and listen to the audio clip here.

Gerald and Barbara have four children and 15 grandchildren.

The luxury liner, which was carrying more than 4,200 people, hit a reef or rock near the island of Giglio on Friday night and flipped on its side with a 160-foot gash in its hull. At least five people were killed.

The coast guard said 15 people are still missing.

Authorities are holding the Italian captain for investigation of suspected manslaughter and abandoning his ship among other possible charges. According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison.

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