A diamond ring fell into an ocean. Lou Asci found it with a metal detector.


Lou Asci heard a woman had lost her diamond ring in the ocean on a New Hampshire beach, so he grabbed his metal detector and dove in before low tide – which that day was 4:20 a.m.

Asci, 60, had seen Francesca Teal’s post in the Hampton Beach Residents & Friends Facebook group, asking ‘anyone who might have a metal detector’ to help her find her engagement ring – which once belonged to her rear -Grandmother. Asci took action.

Although he lives in Marshfield, Mass. – more than 75 miles from North Beach – he decided to help anyway. The Facebook post said the ring was a family heirloom, which made him particularly keen to find it.

“We all lost something that was important to us,” Asci said. “I had to at least make the effort.”

His three children gave him a metal detector for Father’s Day five years ago, and finding lost objects has been his favorite hobby ever since.

Asci saw Teal’s Facebook post on August 8, two days after he first shared it, and reached out to confirm the ring was still missing. His wife agreed to go on an adventure with him to look for him, and the next evening they pulled up to the beach around 10 p.m. and found a parking space. Then they tried to close their eyes.

“My wife and I decided to sleep in the car next to the beach because I wanted to be there early for low tide,” Asci explained.

On Facebook, Teal told her exactly where she swam and where she thought the ring slipped.

Wearing a wetsuit and a headlamp, Asci searched for several hours in the 65 degree water. He was unlucky, although he discovered a man’s wedding ring, which he is trying to reunite with its owner. Still, he wasn’t going to give up on finding Teal’s ring.

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“I don’t take failure very well,” said Asci, who works at the communications center at Boston Logan International Airport. “It’s just something I wanted to keep doing until it was over.”

He returned home, but was unable to remove the ring from his head. He felt like he was about to find it.

He therefore decided to return to the beach alone to continue his research on August 12. There he met Teal and her husband, Austin. The couple, married for almost two years, had returned to the beach to continue searching.

“Being able to meet him and talk to him, you could tell in his eyes that he was super determined,” said Teal, who gave Asci more details about how and where the ring slipped off his finger.

She explained that she and her husband, who were high school sweethearts, were enjoying a beautiful day at the beach, throwing a soccer ball waist deep into the ocean, when the ball hit Teal’s hand and her engagement ring was stolen.

“I just watched it disappear and my heart sank,” Teal recalled. “I was in a moment of dread and panic.”

Her husband warned her not to move, as he tried to sift through the sand around her. Soon bathers began approaching the couple, offering to help. Someone gave them glasses.

After several hours of searching, “it was nowhere in sight,” said Teal, who manages a team of career counselors at Southern New Hampshire University.

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She told a lifeguard what had happened, and he suggested she post information about the ring in various Facebook groups, as there are often people with metal detectors on the beach. Teal also ordered her own underwater metal detector from Amazon. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Much to Teal’s shock, her call has been shared thousands of times and she has received countless messages from people with metal detectors, called detectorists, hoping to help.

“We came back the next day, and there was already a couple in the water watching with their metal detectors,” Teal said, adding that in addition to Asci, strangers have been arriving throughout the week. , wanting to reunite Teal with his precious heirloom. .

“So many people were willing to help,” she said. “I was completely blown away.”

But no one, she said, was more determined than Asci.

As they chatted on the beach, “I could tell there was a part of her missing,” he said.

He searched for six hours that night, to no avail, and texted Teal saying, “I’m not giving up.”

Despite Asci’s determination, at that point, “I was kind of losing hope,” Teal said.

But Asci, remaining resolute, returned to the beach two days later on August 14, more than a week after the ring was lost.

“I just wanted to come out and give her one last chance,” he said.

He searched for almost three hours that evening.

“It was dark, I was cold, the tide was rising and I was hungry,” Asci said.

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Then, just as he was about to get back to his car, “I got the hang of it,” he said.

Asci used his sand shovel to grab the contents below him. He saw something shiny, and immediately he knew what it was.

“It was her ring,” he said, much to her relief. “I was so thrilled.”

He ran to his car to tell Teal the good news. After several days of research, his relentlessness paid off.

He sent her a picture of the double ring, which was his great-grandmother’s white gold wedding band and engagement ring soldered together.

When Teal received Asci’s message, she and her husband broke down in tears.

“I was completely amazed,” she said. “I was overwhelmed.”

It was also emotional for Asci.

“I’ve flipped a bunch of rings before, but this one really struck me,” he said. “I was just extremely happy that I was able to do something.”

The couple demanded to meet him immediately to collect the ring, but Asci insisted on hand-delivering it to their home in Groveland, Mass., about a 35-minute drive from the beach. He gave the ring to Austin and took a video of him re-proposing to his wife of two years.

“I actually got a little teary eyed,” Asci said.

As a thank you, the couple gave Asci a gift card to a local restaurant, along with the underwater metal detector they had purchased. They knew he would help more people with this.

“It’s amazing that this is his hobby that he can use for such good and give back to someone who is really looking for something,” Teal said.

“It was a very meaningful gift for me,” added Asci, who has already moved on to his next ring rescue mission.

“There is nothing more rewarding,” he said. “It’s just something I like to do.”

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