Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Iraq ferry capsize death toll rises to 117

Iraqi authorities have found more bodies every week of their search after last month's tragedy

Iraqi women cast flowers into the Tigris river in remembrance for the victims of the capsized ferry in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. AFP
Iraqi women cast flowers into the Tigris river in remembrance for the victims of the capsized ferry in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. AFP

Iraqi authorities have found more bodies after a ferry capsized in the Tigris River last month, placing the death toll at 117.

Iraqi Civil Defence announced the new toll on Monday after a search and rescue team found more bodies of victims, including that of a young Iraqi boy.

The directorate said that the body of a young man named Ahmed Abdul Sattar, who was born in 1994 in Mosul, was also found over the weekend.

The directorate said that "our teams in the province of Nineveh continue to search along the course of the Tigris and around the clock".

The accident led to public outcry among Iraqis. Grieving and angry relatives of the victims attacked Iraqi President Barham Salih’s motorcade during a tour of the scene.

The Iraqi Human Rights Commission earlier announced that 56 people were still missing but several boats were searching for bodies.

An autonomous volunteer group called “Boat Revolution” has been particularly effective, having found three bodies last week.

The ferry capsized near Mosul on March 21. The boat, carrying almost 250 passengers, struggled against the Tigris’s unusually strong currents for this time of year.

Many of the passengers were on board to celebrate Nowruz new year and mothers' day.

Organisers were reported to have overloaded the ferry, making it unstable in the high swell.

The Iraqi parliament dismissed Nofal Al Agub, governor of Nineveh, after the ferry sunk.

Mr Al Agub has become the focus of protesters’ anger. They blame his administration and lack of oversight for the disaster.

Shortly afterward his dismissal, authorities issued an arrest warrant for officials in Nineveh, including Mr Al Agub.

Most of the victims were women and children.

Updated: April 17, 2019 03:50 AM

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