Caledonia drowning victim identified

July 15, 2013 9:44:57 AM

Sarah Fowler - [email protected]


The victim in Saturday's drowning in Caledonia has been identified. 


The body of Bernardo Lopez, 30, of Columbus was discovered this morning, Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said. 


Merchant said Lopez was on the bank of the Buttahatchee River playing soccer with a group of friends when the ball went into the water. Lopez went into the water to retrieve the ball and drowned. 


"He got caught in the current and was unable to get out," Merchant said. 


Due to the swift current, divers were unable to search for Lopez. Columbus Fire and Rescue began dragging the river Sunday. They also deployed a net that was donated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Merchant said without the net, Lopez's body may not have been discovered. 


"It was the key to this recovery," Merchant said. 


Lopez's body was discovered 3/4-mile south of Lawrence Bridge.

Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.