Fishing trip ends with mother dead, 6-year-old child missing


The family of six—a mother and father and their four children—were fishing from Deer Island in the Merrimack River.

A state police boat and Newburyport fire boat search for a 6-year-old, lost on the Merrimack River near Deer Island in Amesbury. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) — A family fishing trip to a Massachusetts river ended in tragedy with a mother dead and her 6-year-old son missing, authorities said.

The family of six — a mother and father and their four children — were fishing from Deer Island in the Merrimack River when just after 7 pm Thursday, two of the children entered the water, Newburyport fire and police officials said in a statement.

The mother, identified by police Saturday afternoon as Boua DeChhat, entered the water to get the children, and with the help of a good Samaritan captain of a fishing vessel who saw that the family was in distress, a 7-year-old girl was rescued, authorities said.

But DeChhat was unresponsive, and after life-saving efforts were performed at the scene, she was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Rescuers could not find the 6-year-old boy, also identified by police Saturday afternoon as Mas DeChhat. All other members of the family are accounted for.

Local, state, and federal agencies searched through the night, and about 10 divers with the Massachusetts State Police dive team reentered the water Friday morning with specialized equipment to continue the search for the boy. The Coast Guard suspended the search at 5 p.m.

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