Officials recover missing 6-year-old Massachusetts boy that was swept into river



Photo courtesy of Massachusetts State Police

Officials say a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy that had gone missing in the Merrimack River has been recovered.

At 2:00 p.m. Sunday, Amesbury Police announced “it is with a great sadness we must report the body of the young boy has been recovered. The family has been notified and we pray this gives the family some closure.”

Dave Procopio of Massachusetts State Police stated that a kayaker operating in the Pipers Quarry area of the Merrimack River located what is believed to be the body of Mas DeChhat, who had been missing since he entered the water during his family’s recreational visit to Deer Island on Thursday, June 12.

Search crews for the boy included:

29-foot Response Boat-Small, Station Merrimack River
MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, Air Station Cape Cod
Coast Guard Cutter Finback
Amesbury Police Department
Amesbury Fire Department
Newburyport Police Department
Newburyport Fire Department
Salisbury Police Department
Salisbury Fire Department
Haverhill Fire Department
East Kingston Fire Department
Merrimack Fire Department
Massachusetts State Police
Massachusetts Environmental Police

According to Procopio, the mother Boua DeChhat, 29, of Lowell, drowned after entering the swift current of the river Thursday evening in an attempt to save her seven-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. DeChhat and her daughter were pulled from the water by a boat operator and brought to shore. They were transported to Anna Jacques Hospital, where Boua DeChhat was pronounced deceased and her daughter was treated and released.

Mas DeChhat was still missing until today.

The tragic incident occurred Thursday evening as Boua DeChhat, her 31-year-old husband, and their children, Mas and his seven-year-old sister, were fishing and swimming on Deer Island — a recreational area accessible by road that juts into the Merrimack River in Amesbury, near the Newburyport line. At around 7 p.m. the father returned to their car in the island’s small parking lot to retrieve some gear. At around the same time, Mas, who was on land at the water’s edge, reached for a stick in the water. He fell in and began to be pulled away by the swift current. His sister tried to grab him and she, too, fell into the water and began to be pulled by the current. Boua DeChhat, who was not known to swim, entered the water to save her children. All three family members were carried upstream in a westerly direction toward the nearby Whittier Bridge. By this time the father had returned to the water’s edge, saw his daughter and wife in the water, and entered the water himself to try to reach them. The father also was not a swimmer, could not reach his loved ones, and began to struggle himself. He made it back toward shore and grabbed a rock. He managed to exit the river and was transported to Seabrook Hospital for exposure/hypothermia.

The current carried Boua DeChhat and her daughter west, under the Whittier Bridge, and out into the river to the west of the bridge, where a fishing boat operator observed the mother and daughter struggling and pulled them from the water onto his boat. Mas DeChhat was not observed in the water when Boua DeChhat and her daughter were pulled out.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been created and has raised nearly $65,000 as of Saturday afternoon.

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