Skip to main content

At least 5 die when floating restaurant sinks in Baghdad

By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Moni Basu, CNN
updated 10:18 PM EST, Thu February 28, 2013
The Tigris River flows through Baghdad, Iraq, and serves as a major commercial conduit.
The Tigris River flows through Baghdad, Iraq, and serves as a major commercial conduit.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The upscale restaurant opened two years ago
  • Some 150 people were in the restaurant at the time of the accident
  • Two people are missing as the Tigris River search continues

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.

The deaths came after another day of violence in and around Baghdad.

At least seven people were killed and 23 others were wounded in a car bomb and roadside blasts in the Iraqi capital's Shulaa neighborhood. In the Shurta al-Raba neighborhood, two roadside bomb exploded on a busy road, wounding eight people.

In Mahmoudiya, about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) south of Baghdad, five roadside bombs exploded, police officials in Baghdad told CNN. At least two people were killed and five others wounded.

Iraq has endured spurts of violence over the past year amid sectarian and political unrest.

Budget protests erupt in Iraq

Al Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for deadly attacks

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:50 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
The comparisons are inevitable: A student-led campaign challenges Beijing authorities for greater freedom. Could Hong Kong protests lead to another Tiananmen?
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
updated 3:52 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
In a country with not enough toilets, scavengers are paid just $5 a day to scoop human waste.
updated 7:32 PM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
updated 3:45 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
It's a frightening prospect for South Koreans: secret North Korean tunnels under Seoul
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
If you're lucky, your train might be delayed.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT