'More than 80 dead' in Tigris river ferry disaster

Tens dead after ferry sinks in Mosul

Iraq ferry sinking: Many feared dead in Tigris river near Mosul

At least 40 people died, Reuters reported, citing police and medical sources.

Many were there celebrating the Kurdish New Year of Newroz and Mother's Day, which fall on the same day.

Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim reports from Baghdad.

Iraq's justice ministry said it had ordered the arrest of nine ferry company officials and banned the owners of the vessel and the tourist site from leaving the country.

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A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing dozens of people, mostly women and children, officials said.

Numerous victims are women and children, according to the Mosul Eye, a blog that documents events in the city.

The boat was ferrying people to a man-made island used as a recreational area by families, according to one witness. "There were 250 on board before the incident", Mr Khalil said.

Images on social media show the upturned vessel and people floating in the fast-flowing river.

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There was an outpouring of grief among residents who only this year resumed the annual festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city's recapture from the Islamic State group.

Saudi Aziz, a 23-year-old Kurd, was on another ferry crossing the river and said the stricken ferry was overloaded with around 150 people when it capsized.

The ferry was overloaded with more than 100 people, the source said, adding that the ferry was originally created to carry some 30 people.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has ordered an investigation into the accident "to determine responsibilities". Gen. Saad Maan placed the death toll from the accident at 94, adding that 55 have been rescued, including 19 children.

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The accident took place to the north of the city, near a recreational area popular with families.

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