5 convicted in Italian cruise ship crash that killed White Bear Lake couple


Five employees of an Italian cruise ship that crashed last year and killed 32 people -- including a couple from Minnesota -- have been convicted of manslaughter in an Italian court, CNN reports.

The conviction came Saturday after the judge in the case accepted the employees' plea bargain. Only two of the employees may serve any prison time under the plea deal.

The luxury liner -- which carried 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members -- crashed after it struck rocks off of the Italian island of Giglio on Jan. 13, 2012.

Among the 32 people who died in the disaster were Barb and Jerry Heil of White Bear Lake, the only Americans lost in the disaster.

The Heils were initially reported missing until their remains were recovered several weeks later. The bodies of the couple were formally identified in April.

Another 150 people were injured in the mishap, 65 of them seriously.

The employees convicted Saturday were originally co-defendants with the cruise ship's captain, Francesco Schettino. But now Schettino is being tried separately on multiple charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Costa Cruises' emergency manager in Genova, Roberto Ferrarini, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison, while Manrico Giampedroni, hotel director of the Costa Concordia, received two years and six months.

Three officers working under Schettino at the time of the crash all received sentences of 23 months or less, and will likely not serve any prison time.

According to CNN, people who are sentenced to two years or less generally do not have to serve prison time, with the exception of some homicide case that don't include manslaughter.

Meanwhile, the cruise ship remains half-submerged on its side in the area of the crash while a salvage crew of 500 continues to work on a solution to remove the wreckage.

Next Up

Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway

Wild blanked by Blues; playoff fate is in Colorado's hands

It comes down to the final day of the regular season.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 10.04.32 PM

Number of suicides in Minnesota decreased in 2020

While the number dropped, 723 people still died by suicide last year.

Vikings fans, U.S. Bank Stadium

Ranking the most difficult games in the Vikings' 2021 schedule

The Vikings have some interesting matchups on their 17-game slate.

Spencer Silver

Chemist who co-invented Post-it Notes dies at home in St. Paul

He developed an adhesive that could stick to paper – repeatedly – without damaging the paper.

Danielle Hunter

Here is the official 2021 Minnesota Vikings schedule

How does an early January game at Lambeau Field sound?

Blake Bortles

Amid Aaron Rodgers drama, Packers reportedly sign Blake Bortles

The former No. 3 overall pick is headed to Green Bay.

You Houa Thao

Missing St. Paul man found dead in wooded area

The 73-year-old was reported missing May 8.

YouTube - Jim Klobuchar

Jim Klobuchar, celebrated Minnesota columnist, dies at 93

He died Wednesday after a battle with Alzheimer's.

Jerry Burns

Former Vikings head coach Jerry Burns dies at 94

Burns spent a total of 24 seasons with the Vikings as an offensive coordinator and head coach.


White Bear Lake couple missing in Italian cruise ship crash

Friends and neighbors say they've not heard from Gerald and Barbara Heil, who were aboard a cruise ship that crashed and tipped over off the Italian coast. At least five people were killed in the accident.

Bodies of White Bear Lake couple confirmed in cruise ship wreck

Authorities have recovered and identified the bodies of Jerry and Barbara Heil, who were among 30 people killed when a cruise ship capsized off the coast of Italy in January.

Fund established for White Bear Lake couple still missing after cruise crash

Relatives of Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake said in a blog post they have not received any news about the whereabouts of the couple. A fund has been set up to help with the costs of searching for the pair. Rescuers temporarily suspended their search for survivors because of safety concerns.

Church holds vigil for White Bear Lake couple missing in cruise ship crash

The Church of St. Pius X is holding a 24-hour vigil for an elderly couple missing since Friday, when the cruise liner they were aboard capsized off the shore of Italy.

Family of White Bear Lake couple in Italy

Relatives of Jerry and Barbara Heil met with rescue crews Saturday. The couple is still missing after last week's cruise ship accident off the coast of Italy. The Associated Press reports family members were taken near the ship and placed flowers in honor of their loved ones.

Memorial service honors White Bear Lake couple

Hundreds of people who knew Jerry and Barb Heil gathered at St. Pius the X Catholic Church in White Bear Lake Saturday morning. The Heils are among the 15 people still missing following the Italian cruise ship disaster. The Star Tribune reports the Minnesota couple was remembered for being faithful and loving.

White Bear Lake family accepts decision as search of cruise ship waters is called off

Family members of Barbara and Gerald Heil say they're disheartened by the decision to end the search of waters around the shipwrecked Costa Concordia. But they say they understand the decision. "The conditions are no longer acceptable," a fire brigade spokesman told the AFP news service.

Memorial service set for White Bear Lake couple presumed dead in shipwreck

Family members of Barbara and Jerry Heil thanked the public for all the support shown to their family after the wreck of the Costa Concordia. The service at St. Pius the X Catholic Church will be a private one.