More than 100 feared dead in Iraq ferry tragedy


The body of a victim of a capsized ferry on the river Tigris is carried away, Mosul, Iraq, Mar. 22, 2019. EFE-EPA/ Ammar Salih/ATENCIÓN EDITORES:IMAGEN CONTIENE MATERIAL SENSIBLE

MOSUL.- The death toll from a ferry sinking in Iraq’s Tigris River reached 103 on Friday.

It is believed that around 200 people, mostly women and children, were on board the passenger boat when it capsized.

Around 55 survivors were pulled from the river near Mosul, the regional capital of Nineveh province, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said.

The number of fatalities is expected to rise as another 50 have been reported missing, according to local authorities.

«The number of casualties has risen to 103, while an estimated 50 more remain missing,» Ghazwan al-Daoudi, a member of Nineveh’s provincial council, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

«We believe the ferryboat was carrying about 200 passengers when it sank,» he added.

It is believed the capsizing was caused by overcrowding as the vessel only had the capacity for 50 people, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said.

The tragedy took place on Thursday when families and residents were celebrating Iraqi Mother’s Day and Nawroz, Kurdish New Year.

The boat overturned near a tourist island called Om al Rabiain, in the area of ??the Bosques de Mosul.

Footage shown on Iraqi state television shows the vessel completely overturned and people being swept away by strong currents.

The prime minister has met with families of the victims in Mosul and visited the site of the accident.

He declared three days of national mourning throughout the country “to remember and honor the victims of the ferry tragedy in Mosul, their families, friends and loved ones.”

Abdul-Mahdi also ordered an immediate inquiry into the cause of the incident and vowed: “Those responsible for any failure or negligence will be held to account.”

He added in a statement online that he “sends his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the ferry accident that sank in the Tigris river in Mosul.”

Mosul was considered the de facto capital of the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq until July 2017, when it was liberated by Iraqi forces after almost nine months of intense fighting.

Since then, one of the priorities of the city has been rebuilding its infrastructure but the level of destruction, especially in the west, is massive and many residents have said they feel abandoned by the government.

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