At least 72 killed as overloaded ferry sinks in Iraq’s Tigris river

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International desk, Mar 21: A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 72 people, mostly women and children, officials said.

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.

A separate source in the Civil Defence Authority said the boat had been loaded with twice its capacity, causing it to capsize.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Saad Maan said 71 people died, adding that 55 have been rescued, including 19 children.

Earlier Thursday, Health Ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr said the dead include 33 women, 12 children and 10 men. He said 30 people were rescued, adding that search operations are still underway as it is not known how many people were aboard the ferry.

Mobile phone footage showed the ferry sinking into the muddy water and people shouting for help.

The rescue team was retrieving survivors and had rescued 12 people so far, Khalil said.

Police and medical sources said earlier at least 40 people had drowned. A source in a nearby hospital and another in a morgue said the toll had risen to 72.

The accident took place to the north of the city, near a recreational area popular with families.

Source: News Agencies