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Body of boy, 6, found in river days after his mom died trying to save him on fishing trip

A kayaker came across “what is believed to be the body of 6-year-old Mas DeChhat," the Newburyport, Massachusetts, Fire Department said.

Massachusetts authorities believe they have located the body of a 6-year-old boy whose mother died last week trying to save him and his sister from the waters of the Merrimack River, officials said. The girl, 7, was successfully retrieved by the mother and saved.

The Newburyport Fire Department said on Sunday 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 family was on a fishing trip on Deer Island when the two children entered the river on Thursday, the fire department said in an earlier release.

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, Massachusetts, on June 10, 2022. David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via Getty Images

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."