"Matthew did not even get to say anything to me before the ring fell into the ocean," Kayla Harrity said

By Tiare Dunlap
Updated August 27, 2015 06:20 PM
Credit: Courtesy WBTV

When 25-year-old Matthew Picca decided to plan a romantic seaside proposal for his girlfriend, Kayla Harrity, 24, he probably wasn’t expecting to pop the question while soaking wet and smelling of fish – but that’s exactly what happened when his proposal went horribly awry.

Picca was on vacation with Harrity’s family in Southport, North Carolina, when he planned a surprise proposal, WBTV reports. The Monroe, North Carolina, man made arrangements to ask his girlfriend to marry him in front of both of their families at a bar on a dock.

“I turned around and he was getting down on one knee,” Harrity told the news station. “As he opened the ring box, the ring fell out of the box and fell through the cracks on the deck and into the water. I didn’t even get to see it before it dropped.”

Both families and the patrons of the bar looked on in horror.

“I covered my face and began to cry because I knew my boyfriend was devastated,” Harrity said. “Matthew did not even get to say anything to me before the ring fell into the ocean.”

“We all kind of stood in shock for a minute and then a few people were saying, ‘The water’s not that deep, go look for it,’ ” Picca told Fox 46.

Picca jumped into the water to search for the ring, followed by Harrity’s brother-in-law and sister – all fully clothed. Strangers also joined in on the search.

“At the bar, there were three men who were enjoying a beer who saw the whole thing,” she said. “They must have felt bad for us and did not want to see our engagement end like this. They jumped in the water and helped look for the ring.”

Adding insult to injury, Harrity’s sister attempted to use Picca’s phone as a flashlight under the water thinking it had a waterproof case. It did not.

Locals provided underwater flashlights and goggles to help the group’s search.

“After 10 flashlights, five pairs of goggles and over 1.5 hours of searching in the water, the ring was found!” Harrity said.

A bar patron named Kyle Blusher found the ring.

“Everyone at the bar was cheering. All of a sudden, everyone was chanting, ‘Propose again! Do it again!’ ” Harrity told the news station. “It was the best feeling in the world. My fiancé, soaking wet, smelling like salty, fishing water, proceeded to get down on one knee and put the beautiful ring on my finger!”

The couple then returned to the bar to buy the men who helped search a round of shots.

“Without [their] help, we would not be standing here right now planning our wedding,” Harrity said.