Horrifying footage shows ferry packed with Iraqi revellers capsizing, killing 94, as president rushes to Mosul ahead of three days of mourning
- WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT: The ferry, carrying around 100 people, sank in the Tigris river in Iraq on Thursday after a suspected technical fault
- 94 people died in the accident and there were not enough rescue boats around
- People on ferry were celebrating Nowruz, an ancient Persian new year festival
Distressing footage has emerged showing the moment a ferry with a ‘technical problem’ capsized in the Tigris River near the northern city of Mosul, killing 94 people.
The ferry capsized on Thursday with scores of people on board, including dozens of families with children.
The short clip shows water flooding over the barriers of the packed vessel, which eventually overturns as the passengers scramble to get across to the other side.
Iraq’s president Barham Saleh has rushed to Mosul to meet with security officials there over the accident, while search teams continue their efforts to find more bodies.
The ferry was overcrowded with revellers celebrating both Mother’s Day, as well as Nowruz, the Persian New Year on Thursday, March 21
The ferry was full of holidaymakers celebrating Mother’s Day, as well as Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which also fell on March 21 this year.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has ordered an investigation into the sinking and also briefly visited Mosul, where he declared three days of national mourning.
Meanwhile the country’s judicial authorities have ordered the arrest of nine workers operating the ferry.
The men were detained and an arrest warrant is out for the owner of the tourist island where it was headed.
Col. Hussam Khalil, head of civil defence in the northern Nineveh province, said the ferry sank because of a technical problem and that there were not many boats in the area to rescue drowning passengers.
The ferry reportedly sank due to a technical problem but the situation was made worse by the high water level in the Tigris River after a particularly wet rainy season
Col. Hussam Khalil, head of civil defence in the northern Nineveh province, also said there were not many boats in the area to rescue drowning passengers
The Tigris river’s level was also higher than usual after a rainy season that brought more downpours than previous years.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Saad Maan placed the death toll from the accident at 94, adding that 55 have been rescued, including 19 children.
Earlier, a health ministry official said the dead included at least 33 women, 12 children and 10 men.
The sinking appeared to have happened against a backdrop of fairground rides including a ferris wheel and small roller-coaster as revellers celebrated the ancient Persian festival of Nowruz.
Scene of the accident: The Tigris river in Mosul where a ferry carrying around 100 people sank during Kurdish new year celebrations
Two people swam across the river in a bid to rescue people from the ferry while a group of women watch on from the shore
Also known as the Persian new year, Nowruz marks the arrival of spring.
The holiday dates back to at least 1700 BC and incorporates ancient Zoroastrian traditions.
It is the most important event in the Iranian calendar and is widely celebrated across the territories of the old Persian empire, from the Mideast to Central Asia.