Body of 6-year-old Mas DeChhat found in Merrimack River after days of searching


NEWBURYPORT – A kayaker found the body of Mas Dechhat, a 6-year-old boy who fell into the Merrimack River in Newburyport on Thursday.

“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,” Amesbury Police posted on Sunday.

The boy’s mother, Boua DeChhat, drowned while trying to save her son.

A family of six – a mother, father, two girls and two boys – drove to Deer Island Thursday and parked on the Newburyport side of the island to go fishing and swimming. Around 7 p.m., police say the father went to his car in the island’s parking lot to get some gear for the family.

State Police said it was around that time that Mas, who was on land on the edge of the water, reached for a stick and fell in. He was pulled away by the swift current.

Mas’ 7-year-old sister tried to grab him, but she also fell in and was pulled by the current. Despite not knowing how to swim, their mother went into the water to try and save her children.

The mother and daughter were swept under the Whittier Bridge, where a boater pulled them from the water. Boua was rushed to an area hospital but did not survive. Her daughter was later released from the hospital.

The father was hospitalized for hypothermia but survived.

Richard Nagle of Salisbury told WBZ-TV he knows firsthand how strong the current can be.

“It happens so fast, and you don’t expect it. That’s what it is. I’m sure these poor people thought it was going to be a nice day and it’s just unfortunate,” Nagle said. “It is a tragedy. Six years old kid and the mother. You never think something like this is going to happen. It wasn’t even like a boating accident or anything like that. It’s just terrible.” 

Crews have been using divers, boats, and helicopters to search for Mas for the last several days. His body was found around 1 p.m. on Sunday.



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