Family hopes search will find parents missing from capsized cruise ship

Rescuers work to enter the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia in search of more survivors on Sunday, Janaury 15, 2012 in Giglio, Italy.

Sestini

CHICAGO — The son of an American couple missing from a capsized Italian cruise ship remained hopeful Monday that his parents would be found.

John Heil, of Mount Prospect, Ill., issued a statement on behalf of the family confirming that his parents, Barbara and Gerald Heil, are the two Americans missing from the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship that tipped sideways Friday after running aground near Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.

Barbara and Gerald Heil live in White Bear Lake, Minn., north of St. Paul.

“We are waiting patiently for the rescuers to safely try to find our parents,” John Heil, 42, said in the statement. “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."

The statement said that Heil and his siblings “have no further comment at this time and request that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

John Heil owns Heil Insurance Agency Inc., in Mount Prospect.

The Costa Concordia capsized Friday after going too close to shore, authorities said.

While some passengers reportedly swam to shore in the chilly Mediterranean waters, news reports stated that rescue crews searched the ship Monday for 29 survivors, with a spokesman noting that anyone trapped in a stateroom would have difficulty getting to the door, which could be above them out of reach, or below them underwater.

The reported death toll had risen to six as of late Monday.