A couple’s romantic proposal was nearly wrecked when a £4,500 engagement ring shot off the bride-to-be’s finger and into a murky lake.
Vik Patel, 25, popped the question to Rebecca Chaukria, 26, at the scenic Lake District at sunset after waiting eight months during the Covid pandemic for the perfect setting.
But when the moment came, the couple’s joy turned to heartbreak as the ring slid off and sank into the water.
Vik frantically tried to retrieve the ring, using magnets on a pole to fish it out. He even bought goggles and dived into the water to find it, to no avail.
The couple had lost all hope when Angus Hosking, 22, who helps maintain the lake, offered to help and dived in.
After a 20-minute search he found the ring and returned it to the happy couple.
Mr Patel said: “I had been planning to propose for the last eight to nine months, this was finally take five.
“I had planned quite a few different things but due to Covid restrictions everything kept on getting cancelled.”
He said on the Saturday night the weather was nice, and they were able to see a beautiful sunset from the edge of a wooden jetty on Lake Windermere.
“I got down on one knee and we got some lovely pictures”, he said.
“But as we stood up the ring slid off her finger and fell into the lake, it must have been about two metres.”
Mr Patel said he started stripping off right away so he could jump in and grab the ring that he could just about see.
His brother-in-law, who was taking the photos, suggested using the magnet on the end of his tripod to fish out the ring.
“It was at this point that we had completely lost visibility of it”, Mr Patel said.
He added: “After trying to propose for this long, and it finally did happen then after proposing we have just lost the ring.
“All I wanted to do was just get that ring back.”
Mr Patel ran off to buy a pair of goggles before plunging into the freezing water to search for the ring.
“I got a bit of cold water shock, I was making sure that I didn’t step anywhere near where the ring had dropped but I couldn’t see it at all”, he said. .
“After about 20 minutes I was shivering and my girlfriend just told me to come out now and get someone to help.”
Luckily, a man in the watersports shop by their hotel told them about Lake District Diving, a team who scour the lake for lost items and clear away litter damaging the environment.
They called Mr Hosking, who said he could not make any promises but would dive in and take a look.
Mr Patel said: “Angus went into the lakes and within about 20 minutes he just appeared from the water with a smile and said ‘I think we have it’.
“He was just slowly taking all of the debris out of the scoop they used and amongst all this debris was a sparkling ring.
“I was so happy. I was speechless.”
Mr Patel rushed back to the hotel to tell his fiancé the good news.
“Rebecca was just really really happy, she had been so stressed out”, he said.
He praised Lake District Diving’s “brilliant work” helping people recover belongings lost and cleaning up the lake.
Mr Hosking said he was happy to help, and that the team – who rely on donations – find all sorts of things in the lake.
“We also find lots of phones, watches and sunglasses. We found an iPhone 11pro a few weeks ago”, he said.
“It had been in the lake for two weeks I think”, he added. “We posted it on our Facebook page and within a day or two we had found the owner and returned it back to him – and it worked!”