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Iraq ferry sinking: More than 70 dead in Tigris river

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Staff Writer | March 21, 2019
Scores of people have died after a ferry carrying families celebrating the Nowruz holiday capsized in the Tigris River near Mosul.
Tigris River
Asia   At least 71 people were killed in the accident
In a visit to the site of the accident on Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered an inquiry and said those responsible would be held accountable.

Major General Saad Maan, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said at least 71 people were killed in the accident. The Associated Press cited an Iraqi health official as putting the number of fatalities at 83.

At least 55 people, including 19 children, were rescued, officials said.

"I was standing near the river back when suddenly the ferry started to tilt left and right, and passengers began screaming before it capsized," Mohamed Masoud, a local civil servant, told Reuters news agency.

"I saw women and children waving with their hands begging for help but no one was there to rescue them. I don't know how to swim. I couldn't help. I feel guilty. I watched people drown."

Hussam Khalil, head of the Civil Defense in the northern Nineveh province, told AP that the vessel had sunk due to a technical problem.

Another security official was quoted as saying by AFP that "the boat sank because there were too many passengers on board, more than 100."