The death toll now stands at 32, although two bodies have yet to be recovered. Victims of the COSTA CONCORDIA tragedy hailed from around the world: Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Peru, Spain, India and Minnesota. Three months after the ship capsized off the coast of Italy, Italian officials confirmed two of the identified bodies were those of Barbara and Gerald Heil, an elderly couple from White Bear Lake, Minn.
According to media reports, Barbara and Gerald, known by family and friends as “Barb” and “Jerry,” were both devout Catholics who enjoyed being active within the church community. One example of their church involvement was how Jerry arranged Bible study classes and a weekly home visit for a blind, wheelchair-bound parishioner living in a group home. As the couple prepared to embark on a 14-day Mediterranean cruise, they told fellow church members and friends they were excited about taking the trip of a lifetime. Barb and Jerry are survived by four children and 12 grandchildren.
Passengers and crewmembers who lived through this tragic cruise ship accident have described the events onboard as chaotic, with people screaming and crying as they tried desperately to get off the ship. According to crewmember Fabio Costa, there was a rush for lifeboats as the ship capsized: “Everything just started to fall and everybody started to panic and run.” With the ship on its side, passengers began jumping into the cold water to try swimming to shore.
Victims of this horrific cruise disaster deserve justice. In cruise accident cases, the passenger ticket governs when and where claims must be filed, making it important to consult a qualified maritime attorney with experience taking on the cruise lines.
Were you onboard the COSTA CONCORDIA? Did your loved one die in this unimaginable tragedy? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today.
Latti & Anderson LLP –Boston maritime trial lawyers