At least 40 killed as overloaded ferry sinks in Iraq's Tigris river

Tigris river

Twelve people have been rescued so far and teams are still working to pull survivors out of the water, Husam Khalil, head of Mosul's Civil Defence Authority told Reuters.

More than 70 people are reported to have died after a ferry sank in the Tigris river in Iraq's city of Mosul. He said 30 people were rescued, adding that search operations are still underway as it is not known how many people were aboard the ferry. The battle to retake Iraq's second city destroyed much of it.

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.

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He said the ferry had been loaded to several times its capacity. He said the ferry sank because of a technical problem, and there weren't many boats in the area to rescue people.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has ordered an investigation into the accident "to determine responsibilities".

The TV said nine workers operating the ferry have been detained and an arrest warrant is out for the owner of the tourist island where it was headed.

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People floating fast down the river and the sunken ferry can be seen in videos released on social media.

Iraqi forces drove ISIS jihadists from Mosul in 2017 after a devastating campaign that left entire neighbourhoods in ruins.

People and relatives of victims waiting on the bank of the Tigris river where the ferry sank in Mosul.

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The final death toll remains unclear, with some sources saying up to 60 people may have died.

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