MOSUL - At least 79 people died when an overloaded ferry carrying families on an outing sank in the Tigris river in Mosul in northern Iraq, medical sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Most of the casualties on the ferry were women and children who could not swim, said the head of Mosul's Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil.
He said the ferry had been loaded to several times its capacity. "It can normally carry 50 people. There were 250 on board before the incident," he said.
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.