A 6-year-old boy fell into the Merrimack River off of Deer Island on Thursday. His mother tried to rescue him, but was unsuccessful. After being swept away by the swift current, the boy’s body was found by a kayaker on Sunday. The Massachusetts State Police’s Underwater Recovery Unit used 12 divers and four boat operators to search the area. The boy’s mother and father were unable to swim and became entangled in the fast-moving water. The boy’s sister was rescued by a boater, but her mother died later at the hospital.
The children were fishing and swimming at the time of the tragedy. They were fishing near the island when the current pulled them into the water. Their mother and sister jumped in to save them. Their mother, Boua DeChhat, had entered the water to save them, but he was swept away. The family’s father, who had no experience in swimming, was unable to help their family, and it was unclear if she survived.
Bow Police have released a sketch of the woman whose body was found floating in the Merrimack River last week. She is described as white with brown eyes. No other details have been released about her identity or the cause of death. Bow police are investigating the case with help from the New Hampshire State Police’s Marine Patrol. The New Hampshire Major Crimes Unit is also helping with the investigation.
The Merrimack River may also have the bodies of another woman. On Jan. 18, police recovered the body of Kimberly Kelly-Oberhauser, a 56-year-old woman from Lowell. She was last seen on Jan. 18. Police and emergency crews were called to the area when a fisherman discovered the body.
Although no one has been able to determine how many bodies have been found in the Merrimack River, it has been the scene of more than 30 drownings and twenty-one near-drownings. This has led to questions about the safety of the river. According to Derek Kelleher, the deaths are preventable and every effort should be made to make it safer for people to swim.
In another incident, a kayaker found a body in Pipers Quarry. Police are investigating the death. The body will be taken to the office of the Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner. A police report says foul play was not suspected in this case, but the investigation is ongoing. A team of divers, four boat operators and police officers will continue to search the area. The Boston Fire Department joined the search team as well.
Though the number of bodies found in the Merrimack River is not uncommon, it is disturbing nonetheless. Most of the bodies have been found in NH and MA, and there has been no official cause of death. However, the bodies are not a normal thing to find, so law enforcement officials are on the lookout for any patterns.