At 7:09pm on Thursday night, Amesbury emergency units responded to a 911 call regarding a tragic incident on the Merrimack River. The Newburyport Fire Department claimed jurisdiction and arrived on scene shortly after at 7:18pm. The initial call reported that the incident may have been related to a boat, but the affected family of six was not onboard a watercraft, instead they were on land fishing and swimming at Deer Island.
A mother and father accompanied by their four children were enjoying the area up until their son 6, and daughter 7, went swimming and were swept away by the current. It was reported that as soon as the mother saw her endangered children, she went after them in a rescue attempt.
The captain of a nearby fishing vessel witnessed the distressed family in the distance, and made his way over to lend assistance. The mother was able to hoist her conscious and alert daughter aboard the vessel, but was not able to save herself. She went under water and became unresponsive, but the boat crew was able to bring her aboard.
CPR was performed by Merrimack Fire during the mothers transport to Anna Jaques Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
A State Police K-9 Trooper who also responded to the scene was able to wade into the water and throw a line to the father and one of the other children, undoubtedly saving their lives in the process. Sadly the 6 year old was not located in his valiant rescue attempt.
The search for the missing boy is still ongoing, and has now transitioned into the recovery phase. It has become a large scale operation as the Newburyport Fire and Police Departments are receiving additional assistance from several other units.
Some of these units consist of the Boston Dive Team, and the Massachusetts State Police Dive and Air Wing team. They are currently searching the Merrimack River using equipment such as side-scanning sonars in hopes that the boy will be recovered.
At this time the identity of the family will not be released to the public until the boy has been found.