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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 February, 2020
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'Mom, I love you': The heartwrenching text messages sent from South Korea's sinking ferry

About 287 people are still missing.

A relative of a missing student awaits details today.
A relative of a missing student awaits details today.
Image: Woohae CHOWoohae Cho/AP/Press Association Images

“SENDING THIS IN case I may not be able to say this again. Mom, I love you.”

That was just one of many text messages sent by passengers on a sinking ferry in South Korea yesterday.

Shin Young-Jin was one of the lucky ones though. He escaped the tilted vessel and was reunited with his mother, who had texted him back to say, “Oh, I love you too son.”

Shin was one of 179 survivors rescued before the boat capsized and was submerged totally underwater.

There are fears for the lives of 287 people, including 244 students who were on a school trip to a nearby holiday island.

Kim Woong-Ki, who has not been found, sent a message to his older brother.

My room is tilting about 45 degrees. My mobile is not working very well.

His brother replied, telling him that help was on the way:

So don’t panic and just do whatever you’re told to do. Then you’ll be fine.

There was no further communication from Kim.

Another young student, identified by her surname Shin in local media reports, was trying to reassure her father about her own safety.

Dad, don’t worry. I’m wearing a life vest and am with other girls. We’re inside the ship, still in the hallway.

He did not like the sound of that plan, though, and urged her get out. It was too late.

Dad, I can’t. The ship is too tilted. The hallway is crowded with so many people.

The crew has been criticised for ordering passengers to stay put when the ship first foundered.

The JoongAng Ilbo also published excerpts from a chatroom conversation between several students on the ferry.

“Hey guys, let’s make sure we meet up alive,” messaged one. ”I love you all,” responded another.

It was not clear if the students were among those rescued.

Reporting by AFP

Read: Fears grow for hundreds missing after ferry sinks

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