Nearly 200 people were on board, including over 80 women and children, and many of them could not swim. The ferry was loaded with over twice the permitted capacity, Civil Defense General Manager Brigadier Malik Bohan told media. The Department of Water Resources warned a few days ago that the level of water will rise as a result of the opening of dam. The ferry was heading towards Umm Rabaen, a tourist island as part of new year celebrations. People are celebrating Nowruz, the Kurdish new year festival. 67 people were rescued and 55 still were missing.
Ambulances and helicopters arrived to find survivors and bodies of those killed. Fishermen and volunteers also rushed to help. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi ordered an immediate investigation and demanded that the findings be presented to him within 24 hours. The Iraqi Parliament is opening an investigation. The US embassy in Baghdad issued a statement expressing condolences to families of the victims. Five ferry workers were arrested after late on Thursday.