Seventy people dead after overcrowded ferry capsizes in Iraqi city of Mosul

Saul Bowman
March 22, 2019

Khalil said numerous dead were women and children.

At least 71 people have drowned after a ferry sank in the Tigris River near Mosul, Iraq.

Most of the casualties on the ferry were women and children who could not swim, said the head of Mosul's Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil.

The overloaded ferry went down near the city of Mosul on Thursday as scores of people were out in a tourist area celebrating Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival. He added that more than 80 people were on the ferry when the accident occurred.

He said the ferry sank because of a technical problem and that there were not many boats in the area to rescue drowning revellers.

The vessel was believed to be carrying 100 people when it capsized.

Security sources said five ferry workers were arrested and rescue workers were still looking for missing passengers.

The US Embassy said Chargé d'Affaires Joey Hood and the entire mission "express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the tragic ferry accident on the Tigris River near Mosul".

Videos posted on social media showed people with their heads barely above the water fighting against the strong current as onlookers attempted to wade into the river to rescue them. A source in a nearby hospital and another in a morgue said the toll had risen to 72.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has ordered investigators to look into the tragedy and report back to him by Friday.

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