Monday 26 February 2018

Eight drain experts, four oxygen tanks, one intrepid man fail to find €8k rings flushed down loo

Ashling Cahill, who lost her engagement rings after
her friend Imogen Gunner (right) flushed them
down the toilet.
Ashling Cahill, who lost her engagement rings after her friend Imogen Gunner (right) flushed them down the toilet.
A dejected Barry Benson emerges empty-handed from the hotel septic tank for the final time.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THERE was no sign of gold at the bottom of the septic tank yesterday.

It took eight drain experts, four oxygen tanks and one intrepid man to plunge three times into the mire at Bellinter House Hotel, outside Navan, Co Meath -- before they finally declared there was little more they could do to locate the €8,000 missing engagement rings.

The 'ring hunt' got under way after Imogen Gunner (31), from Dublin, had unwittingly flushed engagement and pre-engagement rings belonging to her friend Ashling Cahill (32) down the toilet at the hotel last Friday.

She had placed the rings-- which came from Harrods in London and Fields in Swords-- in tissue paper overnight in her washbag while the two friends were staying at the hotel ahead of Ashling's wedding in November. However, the washbag tipped over and Imogen then flushed the ball of tissue paper down the toilet.

Imogen, who will perform at her friend's wedding in November with her group Celtic Harmony, said she was thankful to everyone who had given their time generously free of charge.

"It has really brought out the best in people. I'm going to have to find out the make and model of the rings and see if I can replace them," she said, adding she might be performing at more weddings to try and fund the purchase. "Ashling is disappointed but she can't believe how helpful people have been."

Experts from drain service Dyno Rod, septic tank experts Bluestream Wastewater Service and Panda all came together yesterday in a day-long hunt at the hotel.

Cora Dwyer, general manager of the country-house hotel, which tonight hosts a charity fashion function for Irish Autism Action, said: "We can't do anything more. There were eight experts from three companies searching for the ring.

"They emptied it with a bucket -- I saw the guy coming back up out of the tank. They are devastated," she added.


The manager admitted encountering many surprises in the hotel business but said the 'ring hunt' was a "first".

Barry Benson from Dyno Rod used up four oxygen tanks dipping into the freshly drained septic tank on the hunt for the valuable rings after the firms had drained it through a sieve.

Jim Phibbs, director of Bluestream Wastewater Services, explained that they vacuum-sucked the tank, passing the contents out by bucket through a filter.

"We got to the bottom of the tank. We've done everything that we could," he said, adding: "Maybe God might bring them back to her. No more could have been done; every person gave 100pc."

Irish Independent

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