The last message sent from the ferry Sewol before it sank with over 300 passengers still aboard was from a student from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, at 10:17 a.m.
Video footage from a fishery patrol boat in South Jeolla Province shows that the ferry had already tilted by 90 degrees and was starting to flip over.
The teenager who sent the last message is still missing.
Investigators declined to reveal the content of the KakaoTalk text message, saying it was "private." But several messages from other passengers paint a heartbreaking picture of the terror aboard the ill-fated ferry.
Choi Deok-ha, a 17-year-old student of Danwon High School whose body was later recovered, was the first to make an emergency call at 8:52 a.m., telling police that the ferry was listing. Around the same time, a 17-year-old boy identified by his surname Park started filming a five-minute video with his friends in the cabin using his mobile phone.
He again filmed the 10-minute video from 9:00 a.m. Teenagers started to panic as the ferry started to tip over considerably in just five minutes, and began to put on life jackets. They were looking after one another, giving up their life jackets for others while waiting for instructions.
Over the public address system can be heard instructions telling them to stay where they are and wait for the next announcement.
Park was later found dead.
The students texted each other messages like, “Let’s meet alive” and “See you later” at the time the ferry had tilted 90 degrees and the rescue boats arrived. They never talked about the possibility of escaping from the cabins that proved their death trap.
At 10 a.m. when the left side of the ferry touched the water, the students were still in the cabin wearing life jackets.
One girl, who exchanged texts with her mother from 10:01 to 10:08 a.m., texted her mother, "I'm okay. We are all in the cabin wearing life jackets, but the guys outside the ferry... **crying face**."
She was worrying about her friends who had gone outside the cabin, even though those were the ones most likely to survive. The last message sent by her mother was, "Stay strong with the friends" at 10:09 a.m.
There was no reply.