ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least 83 people are dead after a ferry capsized in the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday.
The incident occurred in the Tigris River in Mosul at around 4 p.m. local time near an amusement park during Newroz celebrations.
According to the Mayor of Mosul, Zuhair Araji, children and women were among those who drowned.
Initial reports suggested that nearly 150 people were on the ferry which was meant to carry the passengers to a nearby island.
Araji told Kurdistan 24 over the phone that rescue crews managed to retrieve some bodies from the Tigris.
So far, at least 83 people are confirmed dead, while over 55 others have been rescued.
The Mosul mayor indicated that the ferry had reached its capacity and said it was possible that was what caused the boat to capsize.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi ordered an investigation into the incident with at least nine workers operating the ferry arrested.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said it sent dozens of ambulances and aid teams from the provinces of Duhok and Erbil to help those in Mosul.
Sources in the Iraqi city said most of the casualties are Kurds who were celebrating the Kurdish New Year.
In a statement following the incident, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani expressed the KRG’s readiness “to provide all assistance and support to the victims.”
“We have been following the situation and developments closely since the first moments,” he said in the statement.
PM Barzani noted that the KRG had “directed all the relevant agencies” to Mosul and is fully prepared to provide all the necessary support at its hospitals to receive the victims.
Elsewhere, Masoud Barzani, the President of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and the former President of the Kurdistan Region, sent his condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives. Masoud Barzani also wished those who survived a speedy recovery.