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Divers searching for boy who fell into Merrimack River

June 11, 2022 GMT

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) — Divers returned to the water Saturday in hopes of recovering a 6-year-old boy whose mother drowned while trying to rescue him and his sister from the fast-moving Merrimack River.

A dozen divers from the Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Unit, along with Boston Fire Department divers, participated Saturday with help from the Coast Guard and local agencies.

The tragedy unfolded Thursday evening during a family outing on Deer Island when the boy, Mas DeChhat, fell into the river, state police said.

The boy was swept away and his 7-year-old sister also went into the water, followed by their mother, Boua DeChhat, 29, of Lowell, state police said.

The girl survived but the mother was pronounced dead at a hospital after they were pulled from the water by a fishing boat operator. The father, who also jumped in, was treated for hypothermia.

On Saturday, divers were using sidescan sonar, which uses sound waves to detect underwater anomalies, in the search for the boy.