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River Ferry Sinks Near Iraq’s Mosul; Death Toll Nears 100

An overloaded ferry with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris river 

Updated
World
2 min read
River Ferry Sinks Near Iraq’s Mosul; Death Toll Nears 100
i

A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris river near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, 21 March, killing at least 94 people, mostly women and children, news agency Associated Press reported quoting officials.

Iraqi health officials confirmed that the death toll from the river ferry disaster had climbed to 100.

The interior ministry, issuing a fresh toll, said 94 people had died and 55 were rescued, after its spokesman Saad Maan said at least 19 children were among the dead.

The premier said 61 women had died in the accident.

Col. Hussam Khalil, head of the Civil Defense in the northern Nineveh province, told Associated Press the accident occurred as scores of people were out in a tourist area celebrating Nowruz, which marks the Kurdish new year and the arrival of spring.
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Three Days of National Mourning Announced

Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Saad Maan had initially said that 71 people had died (now 94), adding that 55 have been rescued, including 19 children.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi decreed three days of national mourning as he visited the site of the tragedy. He ordered a swift investigation "to determine responsibilities".

Khalil said the ferry sank because of a technical problem, and that there weren't many boats in the area to rescue people. He said more than 80 people were on the ferry when it sank.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered an investigation and expressed deep condolences to families of the victims.

The river's level was high because of a rainy season that brought more precipitation than in previous years.

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.”

Nowruz, or the Persian new year, dates back to 1700 BC and incorporates Zoroastrian traditions. It is celebrated across territories that once made up the ancient Persian empire, stretching from the Middle East to Central Asia.

Iraqi forces drove the Islamic State group from Mosul in 2017 after a devastating campaign that left entire neighborhoods in ruins.

(With inputs from Associated Press)

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