Search for missing boy in Merrimack River suspended

AMESBURY, Mass. — After an all-day search, emergency officials say they still have not located the 6-year-old who went missing in the Merrimack River. Police say his mother died while trying to get him out of the water. The boy’s sister was rescued.

One woman stopped to tie flowers along the bridge overlooking the Merrimack River as crews looked for the boy.

Emergency officials say the two people were a mother and daughter. Mark Bajko saw a boat nearby and directed them to the people in the water.

“He circles back around and he pulls the mom out. He is thinking that is just one person, and all of a sudden I see a head bopping up saying “help” and then it went under, “help” and then goes under,” Bajko said.

Police say the mother died and the 7-year-old daughter survived. But they quickly learned the 6-year-old son was missing in the water. The family of six from Lowell had been fishing on Deer Island when several of them ended up in the water. Emergency officials say the mother was trying to help the son and daughter.

We connected with the father’s boss, who is trying to support the DeChhat family, and he shared this photo from the father and told us the 6-year-old son is Mason. Bajko told us the 7-year-old daughter was lucky the fishing boat was so close.

“He throws the buoy three times trying to get her. And on the third time, as she went under, he throws the buoy, and she hooks it with her arm,” said Bajko. “And the mate is able to bring her on to the boat.”

Bajko, who served in the US Army and knows CPR, tried to help the mother when the fishing boat pulled over to their dock.

“The whole time I hear the little girl crying, she is just crying,” said Bajko.

Emergency officials have been working since yesterday evening searching these waters. The biggest challenges have been the tides and the very severe currents.

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