Little River Canyon

Rome City Schools is mourning the death of 14-year-old Josue Andres Lopez, who drowned Saturday on a trip to Little River Canyon in Cherokee County, Alabama.

"Our thoughts are with the Lopez family and all of those affected by this loss," spokeswoman Tashia Twyman said in a Sunday release.

Josue was a ninth-grader at Rome High. Twyman said RHS counselors and additional system representatives will be available today and throughout the week, to assist students in coping with his death.

Cherokee County Coroner Jeremy Deaton said Josue reportedly went under the water at Martha's Falls about 1:30 p.m. and never resurfaced. First responders searched for several hours and found his body downstream about 3:15 p.m.

His body was retrieved with a helicopter flown by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's aviation division. Deaton said in a press release that Nattie Rodriguez of Leesburg and Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Shawn Rogers were instrumental in the operation.

"Our office couldn't have handled the case as efficiently and professionally without these two men's involvement," Deaton said.

Also assisting in the search and recovery were first responders from Dekalb Ambulance Service, Dekalb County Rescue Squad, U.S. National Park Rangers, Fisher Rescue Team and ALEA's water patrol division.