Text messages sent from a sinking South Korean ferry by high school students to their parents and loved ones have given new insight into the tragedy as rescue efforts are still underway.
"Mom, I might not be able to tell you in person. I love you," one student texted to his mother, ABC News reported
"Me too, son. I love you," the mother wrote back, along with three heart symbols.
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The student is one of the 179 who have been rescued from the ship that overturned Wednesday, 12 miles off the shore of Incheon. Nine have been confirmed dead, and 290 are still missing. Some experts say the missing passengers could potentially be alive in air pockets of the overturned ship.
Another family received a message that said "I am alive" as the ship sank. The child who sent that message, however, is still missing.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
, another text sent to one child's 30-person theater group read, "Love you all for real ... Looks like we really are gonna die ... the ship's tilting ... If I've wronged any of you forgive me. Love you guys."
In another exchange, passenger Woong Gi's brother tried to calm him from ashore.
"The rescue team will get you soon. Keep calm, don't panic, take your time, stay sharp, and do as they say ... When data works contact me again, your brother," he wrote.
A message one son's mother received read, "Can't see a thing, it's totally dark. We are not dead yet, so please send along this message," CNN reported
More than 170 ships and 512 divers have approached the five-story, 6,825-ton ship that was headed to the resort island of Jeju when it overturned for unexplained reasons. Inclement weather has impeded efforts to rescue possible survivors inside the ship, however.
The ship's captain, Lee Joon Suk, told reporters he was sorry for the loss of life on Thursday but did not provide any new details about the cause of the crash.
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