Baghdad floating restaurant sinks, kills 8


An Iraqi demonstrator makes the victory sign as he waves his national flag during a weekly protest against corruption, unemployment and poor public services at Baghdad's Tahrir Square on April 29, 2011.


Ali al-Saadi

A floating restaurant crowded with dozens of patrons sank in the Tigris River in central Baghdad, leaving at least eight dead and several missing.

"A boat belonging to the Lebanese Club in the Karrada area sank tonight while there were 80 people on board," an interior ministry official said, reported Agence France-Presse.

Baghdad provincial council member Mohammed Jassem al-Rubaie told AFP that 150 people had been on board.

According to the Associated Press, the occurrence appeared to be an accident because the boat was over capacity. Iraqi river police and a security official said a terrorist act was not to blame.

At least eight bodies were pulled from the water and nine people have yet to be found. Around 30 people were initially rescued.

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Bilad Qusay, who attended the party onboard being thrown by heavy-machinery manufacturer Caterpillar, said he knew there was a problem when guests were asked to enter the restaurant one-by-one, reported CNN. He noticed water on the floor when he stepped inside and was able to jump ashore to safety when water pressure smashed the restaurant windows.

Fire trucks and police were on the scene as family members stood next to ambulances crying and yelling that the restaurant's owners should be held accountable for the deaths.