When Brian McGuinn got married to his wife over five years ago, he never imagined that her 1.5-carat, $10,000 diamond engagement ring would end up in a landfill.
But that's exactly what happened on the night of October 30, when McGuinn accidentally tossed out the custom-designed platinum ring in the bathroom trash -- along with his disposable razor.
After realizing his mistake, McGuinn called the nearby Wheelabrator dump in Pompano Beach, where 2,250 tons of solid waste is processed each day. Wearing a mask, thick leather gloves, a hard hat and a full protective suit, he waded through nine tons of garbage and 10-foot high piles of rotting trash -- determined to retrieve the ring himself.
Although it seemed impossible at the time, McGuinn kept on: "I had a fighting chance," he told the Miami Herald. And 90 minutes later, McGuinn miraculously found the treasured ring -- covered in disgusting black sludge, but still intact.
After getting the ring thoroughly cleaned at the jewelers, Brian McGuinn drove to the office where his wife, Anna McGuinn, worked -- and slipped the ring back on her finger. "It was unbelievable," his wife said. "I'm never taking it off again."
That's not the first wedding ring mishap -- click in the slideshow below to see other major ring disasters and near-disasters.
Disaster struck when Don Walling proposed to girlfriend Gina Pellicani in 2009, at the Brooklyn Bridge's pedestrian walkway. But it wasn't because she said no -- in fact, it wasn't Pellicani's fault at all. It was Walling himself who dropped the ring through a crack in the bridge onto the busy roadway below. Although the couple (and onlookers) were horrified at first, Walling was able to retrieve the ring -- and only the band was bent in the fall. Looks like it ended happily ever after.
Santa Ana Zoo visitor Sheila Clark was walking through the Amazon's Edge exhibit when her wedding ring and her engagement ring fell onto the deck where she was standing. Although she managed to save her wedding ring, her engagement ring fell -- right into the eight-foot watery exhibit. Luckily, with the help of Zoo Director Kent Yamaguchi (who waded into the muck himself), Clark was reunited with her ring.
After a long night of handing out candy on Halloween in 2009, Ohio woman Elizabeth Olson suddenly noticed that her 3-diamond anniversary ring had gone missing. In the process of tossing out candy into pillow cases and buckets, she had thrown in her ring too. No word yet if the ring has been found.
In August 2010, Matt Cawley proposed to girlfriend Stacey Scanlon at a Cape Cod rock jetty overlooking the ocean. But Scanlon's excitement turned to dread as she dropped the heavy $9K ring, which was attached to an oversized sand dollar. The ring fell somewhere in between the rocks, and despite the efforts of the couple, lifeguards and beach-goers -- the ring was gone.
In May 2009, Anna Laskey lost her engagement ring after leaving it on the bathroom floor of a luxury hotel in England (she was bathing her daughter and forgot to put it back on until the next day). Laskey feared the ring would be lost forever, but ring was found in the bag of a vacuum cleaner used by the park - the only machine out of 30 that had not been emptied the same day.
After touring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at the Michigan International Speedway as part of a fan promotion, Andrea Wieland couldn't find her ring -- anywhere. With the help of staff, friends and the MIS Facebook page, her 13-diamond ring was found a couple days later by a crew member (it was in the garage).