Spot along Merrimack River bank in Amesbury, Mass. where body of Mas DeChhat, 6 was found on June 12, 2022.

CBS Boston

Newburyport, Mass. — A kayaker found the body Sunday of a 6-year-old boy who fell into a river days earlier, CBS Boston reports. His mother drowned trying to save him.

Authorities say Mas DeChhat fell into the Merrimack River in Newburyport, a coastal city some 35 miles northeast of Boston on Thursday.

The family of six — a mother, father, two girls and two boys — had driven to Deer Island and parked on the Newburyport side to go fishing and swimming. Deer Island is technically in Amesbury, a city across the river from Newburyport.

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 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, Boua DeChhat, went into the water to try to save her children.

The mother and daughter were swept under the a bridge, where a boater pulled them out. 

Boua was rushed to an area hospital but didn’t survive. Her daughter was later released from the same hospital.

The father was hospitalized for hypothermia but survived.

“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.

Richard Nagle, of nearby Salisbury, told CBS Boston 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 year 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 had been using divers, boats, and helicopters to search for Mas.