His sister and father survived, while his mother was pronounced dead in the hospital.
A 6-year-old child is still missing after his mother drowned while attempting to save him and his sibling in a Massachusetts river.
According to authorities, the child vanished into the Merrimack River Thursday evening while fishing and swimming on Deer Island, a recreational area on the Amesbury-Newburyport border, per ABC News. The boy was identified as Mas DeChhat of Lowell by the Massachusetts State Police.
The search for the child resumed Saturday morning. Divers and boat operators from the state police, as well as divers from the Boston Fire Department, continued to scour the river using sonar gear and tow bars. Local officials, who are also participating in the search, said on Friday that first responders had switched to a recovery effort.
A 6-year-old boy has been missing since Thursday evening after he was swept away in a river. His mother drowned attempting to rescue him. https://t.co/1KK7KveDz0— ABC News (@ABC) June 11, 2022
Amesbury Emergency Dispatch received a 911 call at 7:09 p.m on Thursday night reporting an incident on the Merrimack River, per Newburyport Mayor's Blog. According to the first 911 call, the incident may have included a boat or watercraft. However, it was immediately discovered that the family (parents and four children) had been on land and that there had been no boat-related incident.
According to the initial response, the parents and children were fishing or swimming at Deer Island in Newburyport when family members got exposed to the river. Mas was allegedly reaching for a stick when he fell into the river at about 7 p.m. Thursday, according to state police. His 7-year-old sister attempted to catch him and fell into the water as well. As they were being dragged by the river their mother "entered the water to save her children," according to Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio.
A 6-year-old boy remains missing days after his mother drowned while trying to rescue him and his sister from a Massachusetts river. https://t.co/rUbFKlximo— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) June 11, 2022
While the three were being dragged upstream by the current, the children's father entered the water to try to save them. Procopio said, "The father also was not a swimmer, could not reach his loved ones, and began to struggle himself."
A nearby fishing vessel, whose captain saw the family in peril, arrived and helped. The seven-year-old daughter was hauled into the boat awake and aware, followed by her unconscious mother, Boua DeChhat. The 29-year-old was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital by Merrimac Fire and was pronounced dead. The father made it back to shore and was subsequently hospitalized due to cold water exposure.
Newburyport Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire said, "We've seen several tragedies on the river, but not usually where a whole family is affected."
From ABC News:— Darius Radzius (@DariusRadzius) June 11, 2022
6-year-old boy remains missing after mother drowns trying to rescue himhttps://t.co/D1WeL1gqtL
Mark Bajko, a local resident, told WCVB that he along with a first responder administered CPR to the mother. He added, "The little girl stopped crying and yells, 'My brother's still in the water.' " Mas was not found by the first responders on the scene and the fast current of the river is posing challenges in the quest to find the boy.
Coast Guard Sector Boston said on Friday that they have suspended their search "pending new information." Capt. Kailie Benson, Coast Guard Sector Boston commander, said in a statement, "Considering the extensive search efforts by the Coast Guard and the numerous state and local agencies, along with on-scene conditions, I have made the decision to suspend the search for the missing 6-year-old boy."
She added, "Our prayers are with the boy and mother's family and friends during this time."
Representative Image Source: Getty Images/Damara Dhanakrishna