(GIGLIO, Italy) — The bodies of two women were recovered Monday from the half-submerged cruise ship as the children of a Minnesota couple prayed on the island for their elderly parents who disappeared when the ship ran aground.
The women’s bodies were discovered near the ship’s Internet cafe. They were not immediately identified, but they brought the death toll in the cruise ship to 15. Another 17 people are still missing.
Among the missing are Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minn., who had saved up to travel following their retirement and had considered their excursion to Italy and the cruise the trip of a lifetime.
Their somber looking daughter, Sara Heil, went to San Pietro Apostolo church to pray Monday on the island of Giglio where the Costa Concordia gashed open its side on a reef and keeled over Jan. 13. Jerry and Barbara Heil were devout Catholics who were deeply involved in their church in Minnesota.
The Heils are the only Americans who are still unaccounted for amongst the 4,200 passengers who were onboard the liner when it crashed.
The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest as Italian authorities investigate and determine whether to charge him criminally.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN
James Griffiths, CNN
Madison Park and Steve Almasy, CNN