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Body of 6-year-old found in river days after mom died trying to rescue him, authorities say

A kayaker came across “what is believed to be the body of 6-year-old Mas DeChhat,” the Newburyport, Massachusetts, Fire Department said.
Merrimack River Search For 6-Year-Old Boy
A US Coast Guard boat searches for the body of a boy on the Merrimack River in Amesbury, Mass., on June 10, 2022.David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

Authorities have found the body of a boy whose mother died after rescuing his sister and trying to save him on a family fishing trip in Massachusetts, officials said on Sunday.

The Newburyport Fire Department said a kayaker came across “what is believed to be the body of 6-year-old Mas DeChhat” in the Merrimack River near Newburyport. The remains will be turned over to the office of the State’s Chief Medical Examiner for positive identification, it said.

The 6-year-old had been on a fishing trip with his family on Deer Island when he and his 7-year-old sister entered the river on Thursday, the fire department said in an earlier release.

The children’s mother, Boua DeChhat, 29, followed them into the river to retrieve them, but “lost her life in doing so,” it said.

The mother had received assistance from a nearby fishing vessel and managed to get her daughter onto the boat, but could not hoist herself up. She went underwater and “was not able to resurface,” the fire department said.

Rescue crews were eventually able to locate the mother and pull her from the water, but she was unresponsive and not breathing. She was pronounced dead at Anna Jaques Hospital.

Until Sunday, rescuers had been unable to find her 6-year-old son and the search for him was declared a recovery operation on Friday.

“Police and Fire Marine Units, State Police and Boston Fire dive teams and Harbormasters searched the river aggressively over the past four days,” the Newburyport Fire Department said in a statement. “The joint search teams and first responders together send their deepest sympathies and condolences to the DeChhat family.”

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