Seventy people dead after overcrowded ferry capsizes in Iraqi city of Mosul
A ferry overloaded with people has capsized on the Tigris river near the Iraqi city of Mosul, killing more than 70 people.
Most of the casualties on the ferry were women and children who could not swim, according to Saif al-Badr, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, who said they accounted for at least 45 of the dead.
The rescue team is still retrieving survivors and has rescued 30 people so far.
The small boat, which was carrying people to a popular picnic area, was believed to be carrying around 150 people when it overturned.
Many were there celebrating the Kurdish New Year of Newroz and Mother’s Day, which fall on the same day.
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Videos showed a number of people struggling to stay afloat amid floating bodies in the fast-flowing water in the Tigris, which appeared engorged.
The authorities had warned people to be careful after several days of heavy rains led to water being released through the Mosul dam, causing the river level to rise.
People looked on from the banks of an amusement park known as "Tourist Island", unable to reach those in the water. Some were seen jumping in to try to help.
The disaster comes as Mosul has begun to rebuild areas like Tourist Island after years of Islamic State rule. The battle to retake Iraq’s second city destroyed much of it.