IRAQ: Floating restaurant sinks in Tigris River, Baghdad leaving at least 8 dead, several others missing – 010313 0815z

https://i2.wp.com/www.wytv.com/media/lib/53/b/6/7/b67bacf0-a2f9-4c29-b8f9-255b18d959a4/Story.jpgA crowded floating restaurant loaded with dozens of guests sank in the Tigris River in central Baghdad late Thursday, leaving at least eight people dead and several others missing, according to officials.

The tragedy appeared to be an accident, with police saying the boat was over its capacity when it went down.

Iraqi river police and a security official said there was no indication that a terrorist act was to blame.

The vessel was part of a popular Lebanese restaurant establishment in the Iraqi capital’s Karrada district.

The restaurant is one of several new businesses that have sprung up as Iraq’s economy has begun to improve in the years since the U.S.-led invasion nearly a decade ago.

At least eight bodies were pulled from the river, and the whereabouts of another nine people were unknown, police and hospital officials said. About 30 people were rescued initially, they said.

Local TV aired footage showing people gathered at the entrance to the restaurant as bodies in black bags were loaded into ambulances.

According to police, the boat had been moored to the riverbank and there appeared to be signs of decay on the metal joints that kept it attached to shore.

It is unclear whether the facility was up to safety standards.

Regulatory oversight remains weak and corruption is deeply entrenched in Iraq.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release details to the media.

Friday, 01 March, 2013 at 04:18 (04:18 AM) UTC RSOE

Press Reports

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) “The Iraqi capital, long plagued by violence, was struck by a different sort of horror Thursday night when a swanky floating restaurant sank in the Tigris River.

Five bodies were recovered from the murky waters, and two others were believed missing, said Mohammed Al Rubeiy, a member of the Baghdad Provincial Council. The searched continued late into the night.

About 150 people were on the floating restaurant, Al Rubeiy said. They were attending a private party hosted by Caterpillar Inc., a manufacturer of heavy machinery and equipment. Most in attendance were Iraqis; some were from elsewhere in the Middle East.

Women wailed and men vented anger that such an accident could occur. Details about the sinking remained sketchy.

I hold you responsible in front of all these people, yelled one man at Al Rubeiy.

Al Rubeiy said the restaurant had a maximum capacity of 100 people.

Restaurants here are usually crowded on Thursday nights, the start of the weekend.

The floating restaurant is part of the upscale Lebanese Family Club, which opened two years ago.

Bilad Qusay, who was at the party, said he knew something was wrong when patrons were asked to enter the restaurant one by one. When he stepped inside, he could see water on the floor.

Suddenly, water pressure smashed the windows of the restaurant and one side went down, Qusay said, wiping tears. He jumped to safety ashore.”

Baghdad: Tigris floating restaurant sinks

BBC News 28 February 2013 Last updated at 22:37

“At least five Iraqis died when a crowded restaurant boat used for a private party sank in the Tigris river in Baghdad, officials say.

They say that at least three other people are unaccounted for.

The boat – moored in the Karrada area of the river – belonged to a Lebanese-owned restaurant.

Police also said that there were 150 people on the boat when it sank. They say there is no indication that the sinking was caused by a terrorist act.

They told the AP news agency that the boat was over its capacity and there appeared to be signs of decay on the metal joints that kept the boat attached to shore.

“Most of [those on board] were Iraqis – only a few were guests from Middle Eastern countries,” Baghdad provincial council member Mohammed Jassem al-Rubaie told the AFP news agency.

He said that the party was for US heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.

“I am 100% sure that it was just an accident,” he said.

Local TV aired footage of people gathering at the entrance to the restaurant as bodies in black bags were loaded into ambulances.

The restaurant is one of several new businesses that have sprung up as Iraq’s economy begins to recover from the turmoil following the US-led invasion nearly 10 years ago.

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