Following the sinking of an overloaded ferry that sank in the Tigris river in Mosul, Northern Iraq, medical resources reveals at least 79 people dead.
The head of Mosul’s Civil Defence Authority, Husam Khalil, said most of the casualities on board in the overloaded ferry, were women and children who could not swim.
Khalil said: “It can normally carry 50 people. There were 250 on board before the incident.”
Five ferry workers were arrested after late on Thursday, security sources said. Rescue workers were still looking for missing passengers.
The boat was ferrying people to a man-made island used as a recreational area by families, according to one witness.
A local civil servant, Mohamed Masoud who was a witness to the incident said: “I was standing near the river back when suddenly the ferry started to tilt left and right, and passengers began screaming before it capsized.
“I saw women and children waving with their hands begging for help but no one was there to rescue them. I don’t know how to swim. I couldn’t help. I feel guilty. I watched people drown.”
Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, ordered an inquiry into the accident and said on Twitter that those responsible would be held accountable.
According to reports from medical sources, among the dead were 19 children and about 52 women.
According to Khalil, The rescue team has been able to rescue 12 people so far.
The accident took place to the north of the city, near a recreational area popular with families.