Minnesota Couple Still Missing After Costa Concordia Disaster

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St. Pius X Church, Olan Mills Studios / AP

Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minn., are among those still missing after an Italian cruise ship capsized on Friday, Jan. 13

A Minnesota couple is among those still missing after the cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, their family confirmed to the Associated Press.

Gerald and Barbara Heil, from White Bear Lake, Minn., are the two Americans missing of 25 passengers and crew members still unaccounted for. Friends and family have described the Heils as devout Catholics whose deep involvement in their local church has lasted nearly 40 years.

“We are waiting patiently for the rescuers to safely try to find our parents,” said the Heils’ son in a written statement provided to the AP. “Our prayers and thoughts are with our parents; those others that are still missing and their families; and the brave rescuers. We are working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Italy and are confident that everything is being done to find our parents.”

Eleven people have been confirmed dead, and the ship’s captain is under investigation for manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing a shipwreck. Italian officials continue to lead rescue efforts amid the wreckage, which lies off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

MORE: ‘We Had to Improvise’: Costa Concordia Survivors Speak Out