The boat, full of people heading to Umm Rabaen island, an area popular among Mosul residents, overturned and began to sink at around 4pm local time and at the height of the celebrations. Photos and footage from the scene of the disaster show dozens of people in the water surrounding the stricken ferry, with scores of horrified onlookers watching from the shores.
The majority of the victims drowned because they were unable to swim to shore. At least 94 people, including 19 children and 61 women, were killed in the accident, an Interior Ministry official told AP. Another 55 people were rescued and dozens are still missing.
Officials believe that the ferry capsized in the because passenger numbers had reached twice its permitted capacity, and also potentially because of unusually high water levels in the Tigris river.