Couple With Chicago Ties Among Missing In Italian Cruise Ship Crash

(CBS) — The American Embassy in Rome now says 118 of the 120 Americans aboard the Costa Concordia have been accounted for, but a Minnesota couple with ties to the Chicago area is still missing.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, Mount Prospect resident John Heil says he has not gotten the good news he has been hoping for about his parents, Gerald and Barbara Heil, who were on board the Costa Concordia cruise ship when it ran aground and tipped over off the Italian coast.

And John Heil’s sister, Sarah, says the American embassy in Rome has confirmed that her parents are among the missing.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

“The embassy has confirmed that they don’t have them listed as checked-in,” Sarah Heil said.

Gerald and Barbara Heil had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, Sarah said.

“My parents have always wanted to travel. They raised four kids and they sent them all to private school, elementary to college, so they never had any money,” she said. “So when they retired, they went traveling. And this was going to be a big deal – a 16-day trip. They were really excited about it.”

Sarah said her parents have four children and 15 grandchildren – all waiting for the good news they hope will still come.

She says her family has sent photographs of her parents, as investigators requested.

The luxury liner, carrying more than 4,200 people, ran aground on Friday night and flipped on its side with a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in its hull. At least five people were killed.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Gerald and Barbara Heil is asked to email

More from Steve Miller
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  • Micheal Savage

    Cruise ship industry has been getting away with murder for many years,but when mention people that go on cruises say it can happen anywhere,maybe true but it does happen,but is overlooked as how much,more than you want to know.and thats alot.

  • Community Offers Prayers For Missing Cruise Couple « CBS Minnesota

    […] community’s concern turned to fear after they heard the Heils’ daughter Sarah confirm to CBS Chicago that her parents were, in fact, […]

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