A 17-year-old tumbled over a waterfall and drowned in the Iroquois River in the Edmundston area, the local fire chief says.

The teen was with friends Wednesday afternoon on top of what's known as the Moulin-Morneault Falls when he fell, said Chief Jean-Philippe Oudin of the Edmundston Fire Department.

Emergency crews found the teen about an hour later, pinned underwater by the force of a whirlpool.

The falls on the Iroquois, a tributary of the St. John River, are about 20 metres high, Oudin said.

The teen was in cardiac arrest when rescue workers reached him and he was later declared dead in hospital.

In the summer, Oudin said, the falls are a common place to go swimming and fishing.

The teen was sitting at the top of the falls with friends when he slipped over.

"There was nothing they could do," Oudin said. 

Members of the RCMP were also involved in the search and rescue.

Oudin said police are continuing to investigate the teen's death.