Family of missing couple in Italy accepts search end
Published 9:36 am Wednesday, February 1, 2012
WHITE BEAR LAKE — Family members of a Minnesota couple missing in the Italian cruise ship disaster said Tuesday they accept the decision to end the search.
In a blog posting, the children of Jerry and Barbara Heil, of White Bear Lake, say they are “certainly disheartened to hear the news” but understand.
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Italian emergency officials decided to end the search due to the danger to rescue workers. The Heils are the only Americans missing in the Jan. 13 wreck.
“We cannot express enough our sincere gratitude to all those involved in the search and rescue effort. Time and time again, the rescuers faced many perils in the hopes of reuniting the missing with their families. We will be forever grateful for all those who worked so hard for people they did not even know, yet understood how important their job was for those that remained waiting for news,” the Heil family said in a statement.
“As we struggle to come to grips with this tragedy, we find comfort knowing Mom and Dad are now in a better place free from any worries. They have always been obedient to God’s plan and now we must do the same.”
Italy’s Civil Protection agency said Tuesday that technical studies indicated the deformed hull of the ship created too many safety concerns to continue the search within it.