Dozens dead after ferry sinks close to Iraq's Mosul during Nowruz celebrations
A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 71 people, mostly women and children, officials said.
Col. Hussam Khalil, head of the civil defence in the northern Nineveh province, told AP that the accident occurred as scores of people were out in a tourist area celebrating Nowruz, which marks the Kurdish new year and the arrival of spring.
Health ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr said among the dead are 33 women, 12 children and 10 men. 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.
Khalil said the ferry sank because of a technical problem, and that there weren't many boats in the area to rescue people. He said more than 80 people were on the ferry when it sank.
The river's level was high because of a rainy season that brought more precipitation than in previous years.
Nowruz, also known as the Persian new year, has its origins in Iranian and Zoroastrian cultures and is celebrated by Kurds and Iranians, as well as multiple nations in the Caucasus and Central Asia.