A 20-year-old female IDF officer was killed and seven soldiers were injured Wednesday afternoon when a heavy lighting fixture collapsed on a stage set on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Eight people were detained for questioning by Jerusalem police.
Second-Lieutenant Hila Bezaleli was among dozens of soldiers who were on the stage rehearsing for next week's Independence Day ceremony.
Hila Bezaleli hours before the disaster
An initial investigation revealed that a cable connecting the lighting fixtures was torn apart and as a result, the fixtures collapsed and dragged a concrete cube that weighs a few tons.
Scene of incident (Photo: Channel 2)
There is still concern over the possibility that other fixtures will collapse. Police and fire department teams have been deployed in the area.
Scene at Mount Herzl (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Large police and emergency services teams arrived at the scene.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that two soldiers sustained moderate injuries and five were lightly wounded in the incident. The soldiers were rushed to Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem hospitals in Jerusalem.
Mt. Herzl stage (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
It has been revealed that the victim's mother was also at the site at the time of the accident.
Bezaleli served as a Medical Corps officer at the Jordan Valley Brigade. It has been said she played a central role in saving human lives in various incidents.
"Her dream was to march at the lighting of the torches ceremony and she kept on talking about it," one officer said.
Design Group, the company that erected the lighting fixtures said in response that it adhered to the instructions of engineers and supervisors and did not veer from safety instructions.
"The installation was not built today and has been erected for more than 10 days," the company said.
"It has been checked by safety engineers, passed two examinations and received the necessary permits. Design Group was responsible of following the instructions given by the engineers."
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