At least 93 killed as overloaded ferry sinks in Iraq's Tigris river

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At least 79 people died when an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul in Iraq, medical sources told Reuters on Thursday.

BAGHDAD (XINHUA) - The death toll of the ferry sinking incident in Tigris river in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Thursday (March 21) rose to 93, most of them women and children, the Interior Ministry said.

"We have 93 people killed in the sinking ferry in Mosul, and the search operations continued for more possible victims," Saad Maan, a ministry spokesman, said in a press release.

No accurate figures are available yet about the number of people the ferry was carrying when the accident happened.

"Investigation is underway, and apparently the capacity of the ferry was below the number of passengers aboard," Maan said earlier.

Meanwhile, a statement by the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, said Mosul investigation court has decided to arrest nine workers responsible for the ferry.

"The court also issued an arrest warrant for the owner of the ferry and the owner of the island," the statement added.

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered an investigation into the sinking of the ferry in Mosul.

"With pain and sadness, we follow up the ferry incident in the city of Mosul, which killed dozens of innocent women, men and children," Abdul Mahdi said in a statement issued by his office.

The Iraqi prime minister "extends his condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Iraq," the statement said.

He has ordered "an immediate investigation into the incident (to be carried out) within 24 hours to show the truth and to bring those who are behind the incident to justice," it added.

Earlier in the day, a civil defense source said dozens of people, mostly children and women, drowned in the Tigris river when a ferry, owned by a tourism office, was carrying passengers from the bank of the river to a tourist island in the river in northern Mosul.

The ferry was overloaded with more than 100 people, the source said, adding that the ferry was originally designed to carry some 30 people.

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