IDF officer Hila Betzaleli, who was killed when a lighting rig collapsed at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, was laid to rest roughly 200 meters from where she died, on Wednesday night. Hundreds attended the funeral.
The fatal incident occurred during a rehearsal ahead of official Independence Day ceremonies there next week. Seven soldiers were injured.
In light of the tragedy, officials weighed whether to go ahead with plans to hold the ceremonies as scheduled, but ultimately decided they would proceed.
Rehearsals were under way when the lighting rig collapsed and fell on the central parade ground.
The victim, 2nd Lt. Betzaleli, 20, came from Mevasseret Zion. Her mother, who works at the Mount Herzl grounds, rushed to the site within minutes of the tragedy to search for her daughter. A photo of Betzaleli, released Wednesday night, shows the officer smiling at the Mount Herzl parade grounds just two hours before the tragedy.
Two of the injured were reported to be in moderate condition, with the remainder suffering light injuries. All the injured were quickly evacuated from the scene.
Initially, eyewitnesses suggested that strong winds caused the lighting rig to collapse, but police said they were investigating possible negligence. They were also attempting to determine why rehearsals for the ceremony were taking place while the lighting rig was being erected. A cable connecting lighting fixtures was said to have torn, resulting in the collapse, initial investigations showed.
Eyewitnesses said they had seen the rig shake for minutes before it fell.
The lighting rig was constructed from metal scaffolding. Four columns, each approximately 15 meters (50 feet) in height, held up the lighting rig with multiple stage lights secured to the scaffolding. Apparently one of the four columns collapsed, causing the others to follow suit.