Victim of Mt. Herzl tragedy laid to rest

IDF officer killed after being trapped beneath steel lighting fixture during rehearsal for Remembrance Day ceremony.

April 19, 2012 02:08
1 minute read.
Lighting rig falls at Har Herzl

Lighting rig falls at Har Herzl 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Twenty-year-old Hila Betzaleli, the IDF officer killed when a light structure on a stage at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem fell on her on Wednesday, was laid to rest at the Mount Herzl military ceremony late on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral.

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Eight suspects have been detained for questioning in connection with the accident, police said.

Four of the suspects were set to be released, while four others were scheduled to face a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Among those suspected of causing death through negligence are the safety expert, engineer and stage designer of the company which the state contracted to design the stage for next week's Remembrance Day ceremony where the accident occurred.

Four others were injured, one critically, during the rehearsal for the annual celebration of Independence Day when the 10-meter-tall steel light rigging system collapsed. The other victims were injured lightly and treated at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

Witnesses said the steel structure was wavering dangerously in the wind, and someone called out “It’s going to fall!” before the entire structure crashed to the ground. One teenage Jerusalem resident, who was watching his cousin at the rehearsal, said he saw Bezaleli lying on the ground after the columns collapsed.

“People were panicking, everyone ran to try to pick her up,” said the teenager, who cannot be named because he is a minor.

Jerusalem District Police Dep.-Cmdr. Manny Yitzhaki said police were investigating every angle of the incident. “We will investigate the facts one by one to understand how this happened and who is responsible,” he said.

Yitzhaki added that police were checking how the structure was built and had detained a number of engineers involved in its construction for questioning.

Melanie Lidman and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report

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