Death toll of ferry sinking in Iraq's Mosul rises to 96: health ministry

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People and relatives of victims waiting on the bank of the Tigris river where the ferry sank in Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Photo: AP)

BAGHDAD, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Health announced on Friday that 96 bodies were recovered after the ferry sinking incident in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

Saif al-Badr, spokesman of the ministry, said in a statement that "96 bodies of the victims of the ferry sinking in the city of Mosul were recovered from the Tigris River," adding that most of the victims were women and children.

According to al-Badr, 60 people were rescued from the river and admitted to hospitals to receive treatment.

The incident took place on Thursday afternoon when a ferryboat carrying dozens of people capsized while crossing from the bank of the river to a small tourist island called Um al Rabeein in northern Mosul, some 400 km north of the capital Baghdad.

According to a civil defense source, the ferryboat owned by a tourism office was overloaded with more than 100 people, while the ferryboat is originally designed to carry some 30 people.

The search operation is expected to continue in the coming days.

Meanwhile, a statement by the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, said that 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.