Officials say most of the casualties were women and children who could not swim. [screen grab/Twitter]

Dozens of people have died after a ferry carrying families celebrating the Nowruz holiday capsized in Tigris river near the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to officials.

Husam Khalil, the head of Mosul’s Civil Defence Authority, said, according to news agencies, that at least 45 people were killed in Thursday’s accident.

“We have pulled out 45 bodies and the number could rise,” Khalil said. He added that most of the casualties were women and children who could not swim.

The vessel was believed to be overloaded, carrying around 200 people celebrating the holiday of Nowruz, which marks the Kurdish new year and the arrival of spring, when it sank.

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