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A Tragedy They Can't Believe

Paul and Vera Eyskens were proud of their daughter Rose-Marie, reports CBS News Correspondent Vicki Mabrey. At 24, she had just completed her law degree. She was engaged to 28-year-old economist Sebastiaan Van Den Heede. They were going to marry next year.

Instead, in a tragedy their families still can't believe, Rose-Marie and Sebastiaan were killed last February, when a U.S. Marine jet severed the cable of their ski gondola in Italy.

"It's unbelievable," says Vera Eyeskins. "She went on holiday, she was happy, very very happy. She disappeared."

Rose-Marie and Sebastiaan were on that ski trip with 13 of their friends. The five most experienced skiers had broken off -- to try a more difficult run. All five were killed in the packed gondola along with 15 skiers from other countries.

Since the accident, the looming question has been whether the crew members involved would be court-martialed. The families of the five young Belgians who were killed say the victims have been forgotten, and they're skeptical about getting justice in a military courtroom.

Saskia Van Den Heede has happy memories of dancing with her brother at her wedding. She can't believe the marine crew still hasn't apologized to the families for their losses.

"They don't care, they say, `Okay, we did something, 20 people killed, but sorry, we couldn't help it," says Ms. Van Den Heede.

The Marines were supposed to be flying no lower than two thousand feet. The ski cable was at 376 feet. The cable was not marked on their map, but Sebastiaan's sister says that's no excuse.

"What they did was just like a bunch of American cowboys who are somewhere in another country and think they are playing a game with a joystick," she says.

Last week, a Marine Corps judge recommended that the pilot and navigator of the plane be court-martialed, but the families fear the military will protect its own.

Meanwhile, Rose-Marie's mangled camera was salvaged from the wreckage of the gondola, giving the families a last, precious glimpse of promising lives cut short.

Reported by Vicki Mabrey
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