It was not the way a day at the beach was supposed to end up -- with a priceless family heirloom lost.
“It’s a very small piece of material in this huge ocean,” said Francesca Teal. “In that moment my heart sank.”
Teal, who spoke to NBC10 Boston exclusively, was playing football with her husband in waist-deep waters off of North Beach in Hampton, New Hampshire.
“I saw the ball just pop my finger and I saw these two rings just slide right off my finger and go into the water,” she recalled.
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In a flash, a diamond wedding ring -- a family heirloom passed down from her great-grandmother -- was lost in the ocean.
The couple spent hours looking but had no luck.
A crestfallen Teal posted about the ordeal on Facebook, including on a page for metal detector enthusiasts. The post was shared over 3,000 times.
“Some people messaged me and said, 'I’m going to go tonight and look for you,'” Teal said.
Over the course of a week, the couple went back looking several times. Each time they went, good Samaritans with metal detectors who had read Teal's post were out looking, as well.
One metal detector hobbyist spent 15 hours searching over the course of three days.
“I decided to go out deeper and give it one last shot and I got a hit,” Lou Asci, of Marshfield, said.
Eight days after the ring vanished, Asci found it buried four inches down in the sand.
“I was just very thankful that it was over,” he said.
Teal is so grateful to Asci and all the people who volunteered their time.
“It’s pretty easy to look at the world and see all the bad,” she said. “When you peel things back, you see we all just want to help each other out.”