As a South Korean ferry began sinking with 475 people believed to be aboard — 325 of them students from Danwon High School.
While a few have been rescued, hundreds are still missing, some students reached for their cellphones and began sending messages to their loved ones. The following are transcripts of those exchanges.
- - -
Shin Seong-hee heeded the advice of the ship’s communications officer, who told passengers to stay inside rather than evacuate. Her sister showed a reporter these text messages to her father.
Seong-hee: “Dad, don’t worry. I am wearing a life vest and my friends and I are all holding on together. I am inside the ship. Still in the corridor.”
Father: “I know the rescuers are coming, but why don’t you try to come outside?”
Seong-hee: “Dad, I can’t walk now because all the kids are in the corridor. And because the ship is tilting too much.”
She has not been heard from since.
- - -
Continue reading the main storyShin Young-jin’s exchange with his mother, which makes a reference to a messaging service, was broadcast by the South Korean news media.
Young-jin: “Mom, I say this now because I may never be able to say it: I love you.”
Mother: “Why…? I was wondering why you weren’t checking KakaoTalk.
Me too, son… I love you.”
- - -
The South Korean news media broadcast a male student’s exchange with his older brother.
Student: “We were on a ferry going to Jeju Island. Then the ferry hit something. The boat isn’t moving and this thing called water rescue team or something is coming or something.”
Brother: “Is it completely crushed?”
Student: “I am inside so I don’t know about that.
The data reception is not that good, either.
But the coast guard just came, apparently.”
Brother: “Ok if the rescue team is coming, it will come soon.
So don’t needlessly go this way and that. Just keep yourself alert and calm and do as is announced.
Move as fast as they tell you to.
Contact me again when you get data reception.
According to KakaoTalk, the last string of messages from the brother were unread, and the student on the ship has not been found.
- - -
Kim Beom-soo: “Dad, I am wearing my life jacket and lying in my bed. What should I do?”
Father: “Drop all your belongings and hold on to anything, a pole, anything.”
Kim Beom-soo: “Hope we can meet again alive (sobbing)”
He remains missing.
- - -
Kim Hyun-yi, 16, called her father and told him that the ship was sinking. She said she was holding on to some sort of pillar and, crying, told him she wanted to live.
Father: “You must be with your friends. Never lose them.”
They lost contact, but a few hours later she called her father to say she had survived.
- - -
Kim Min-kyu, 16, sent his girlfriend, Jeong Geum-hwa, a text message from the ferry.
Min-kyu: “Ahh… Ship is turning…”
Geum-hwa: “What? What are you talking about?”
She has not heard from him since.
- - -
JoongAng Ilbo, a South Korean daily, published messages from a group chat on Kakao Talk between 39 students and their teacher.
(9:10 a.m.) Student 1: Teacher, are you O.K.? (28 members didn’t read this)
(9:10 a.m.) Student 2: Did you wear a life vest, teacher? (28 members didn’t read this)
(9:11 a.m.) Teacher: Yes!!! I wore a life vest (28 members didn’t read this)
(9:13 a.m.) Teacher: Guys~ don’t move and stay still~ Wear a life vest if you can (28 members didn’t read this)
(9:16 a.m.) Student 1: Yes, teacher (29 members didn’t read this)
(9:16 a.m.) Student 1: Guys (29 members didn’t read this)
(9:16 a.m.) Student 1: Let’s meet again alive (29 members didn’t read this)
(9:22 a.m.) Student 3: I love you all (31 members didn’t read this)
(9:28 a.m.) Student 1: Guys, I love you (32 members didn’t read this)
The fate of the students and their teacher is unknown.
- The bottom image is the Captain of the ferry