Dozens of people have died after a ferry carrying families celebrating the Nowruz holiday capsized in Tigris river near the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to officials.
Husam Khalil, the head of Mosul’s Civil Defence Authority, said, according to news agencies, that at least 40 people were killed in Thursday’s accident.
Most of the casualties were women and children who could not swim, Halil said.
The vessel was believed to be overloaded, carrying around 200 people celebrating the holiday of Nowruz, which marks the Kurdish new year and the arrival of spring, when it sank. The holiday is celebrated as the Persian New Year in Iran.
Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, said footage posted on social media showed “a very distressing picture” at what appeared to be a theme park.
“We are seeing video of what appears to be a ferry upside down … people jumping into the Tigris River in an attempt to rescue others. We can hear people along the banks screaming and we can see several people swimming furiously in what appears to be a rather swift current.”
More to follow.
Al Jazeera and news agencies