A four-day search for a 6-year-old boy who was swept into the Merrimack River has come to a close after a kayaker found a body authorities believe to be his.
Massachusetts State Police announced that a body believed to be that of 6-year-old Mas DeChhat was located in the Pipers Quarry area of the river on the morning of Sunday, June 12.
Mas' mother, identified as 29-year-old Boua DeChhat, of Lowell, also died while trying to save her son and 7-year-old daughter after they were swept away by the current in the area of Deer Island in Amesbury, officials said.
Authorities reported that the incident happened on the morning of Thursday, June 9, in Amesbury near the Newburyport line.
Police said Boua, her 31-year-old husband, and their children were fishing in the area when Mas fell into the river and was pulled away by the current.
His sister tried to grab him before she was also pulled away by the current.
Boua then got into the water to try to save her children, and all three family members were carried upstream toward the Whittier Bridge, authorities said.
The children's father then saw his daughter and wife in the water and went in to try to assist before he also began to struggle, authorities reported.
He managed to make it back to shore and was hospitalized for exposure/hypothermia, authorities said.
Boua and her daughter were carried out into the river west of the bridge, where the operator of a fishing boat saw them struggling and pulled them from the water, officials reported.
Officials said the 7-year-old girl was conscious and alert, but Boua was unresponsive when they were both pulled from the water.
Mas was not seen in the water at the time.
Boua was pronounced dead at the hospital, and her daughter was treated and released, officials said.
Authorities across multiple agencies searched for Mas over the four-day period he was missing.
Authorities said the following agencies assisted in the search:
- Massachusetts State Police
- Amesbury and Newburyport Fire and Police
- Coast Guard
- Boston Fire
- Newburyport Harbormaster
- Massachusetts Environmental Police
- Massachusetts Department of Fire Services
- Cataldo Ambulance
- Seacoast Chief Fire Officers Mutual Aid District
- Newbury Harbormaster
- Merrimac, Salisbury, Haverhill and East Kingston, New Hampshire fire departments
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