At least 77 dead as Tigris ferry on spring holiday trip sinks in Iraq

The vessel was crammed with men, women and children crossing the Tigris to go to a popular picnic area to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year and a holiday across Iraq marking the start of spring.

Published: 22nd March 2019 12:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2019 02:29 AM   |  A+A-

Iraq Boat tragedy

A boat sales in the Tigris river on March 21, 2019, at the site of a popular picnic area in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, after a ferry sank leaving more than 70 people dead in Iraq's worst accident in years. The vessel was packed with men, women and children crossing the Tigris to go to a popular picnic area to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year and a holiday day across the country.

By AFP

MOSUL: At least 77 people died as a ferry packed with families celebrating Kurdish New Year sank in a swollen river in the former jihadist stronghold of Mosul, in Iraq's worst accident in years.

There was an outpouring of grief among residents who only this year resumed the annual festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city's recapture from the Islamic State group.

The vessel was crammed with men, women and children crossing the Tigris to go to a popular picnic area to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year and a holiday across Iraq marking the start of spring.

While war and jihadist attacks have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq in recent years, such accidents are relatively rare.

"It's a disaster, no one expected that," said a young man who had just managed to reach the shore. "There were a lot of people on the boat, especially women and children," he said.

A Mosul security source said the high water levels and overcrowding on the boat, with well over 100 people on board, had been to blame for the disaster.

The health ministry put the death toll at 77 after the interior ministry's spokesman Saad Maan said the victims included 19 children, with 55 people rescued.

"The boat sank because there were too many passengers on board," another security official based in Mosul said.

The health ministry said earlier that 33 women were among those who drowned. Iraq's justice ministry said it had ordered the arrest of nine ferry company officials and banned the owners of the vessel and the tourist site from leaving the country.

The authorities had warned people to be cautious after several days of heavy rains led to water being released through the Mosul dam, causing the river level to rise.

Videos shared on social media showed a fast-flowing, bloated river and dozens of people in the water floating in the water or trying to swim around the partly submerged boat.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp