Iraq ferry sinking: 'More than 70 dead' in Tigris river

People in the Tigris river

SHOCKING Dozens of people have died after a ferry sank

Head of Mosul's Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil has said the majority of those feared dead are women and children who could not swim.

Falah al-Taii, director of Nineveh health department, said the number of victims that arrived at the forensic department and in the hospitals in Mosul is more than 60, the majority of them women and children.

The tragedy was the latest setback for a city that has struggled to rebuild after it became, in 2017, the center of the bloodiest battle against the Islamic State in Iraq. He said the ferry sank because of a technical problem, and there weren't many boats in the area to rescue people.

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This year, Mother's Day and Nowruz, the Kurdish and Persian new year, fell on the same day and families throughout Iraq are celebrating a long weekend. He said more than 80 were on the ferry when it sank.

The vessel was believed to be carrying 100 people when it capsized.

Police and medical sources said earlier at least 40 people had drowned.

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Another civil defence official said 12 people had been rescued from the ferry as it sank into the Tigris river.

Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the Iraqi prime minister, ordered an investigation and expressed deep condolences to the families of the victims.

Images on social media show the upturned vessel and people floating in the water.

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"The Department of Water Resources warned a few days ago that the level of water will rise as a result of the opening of dams", said Habu.

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