A Bad Omen? Plane Carrying Marriage Proposal Crashes Off Rhode Island

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Ah, yes. The throes of romantic love — it’s enough to make your heart swell — and your engine sputter. New England pilot Mark Simmons was flying a “Will You Marry Me?” banner off the coast of Rhode Island when suddenly the proposal took a dive. It wasn’t a problem on the beach, where Mike Flynn was proposing to his girlfriend Michelle. No, Simmons’ plane was going down.

Ten minutes into his flight, he was heading toward the shorelines of Block Island when the plane’s engine began to fail. Luckily, Simmons emerged unharmed after his plane crashed in Block Island Sound. But that left a pretty nervous proposer waiting on the beach with his unsuspecting belle. “While it was happening, I was pacing the beach,” Flynn told ABC News. “I was really worried.”

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Simmons made a distress call to his 8-year-old son Ethan, who according to ABC News “heard his dad’s Mayday call over the airport’s radio transmission and initiated the rescue effort by alerting airport personnel and giving them information on his dad’s whereabouts.”

Just a day after his plane crashed, Simmons took to the skies again, determined to do it right.

“I wasn’t sure why it took him two days of pacing the beach just to propose to me on the beach,” Michelle said in an interview. “Until I saw the plane.” Despite the anxiety, she said yes.

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Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.