"Mom, I'm sending you this now because I'm afraid I might not be able to say it later. I love you."
Those were the gut-wrenching words reportedly sent in a text message by a young man to his mother as the South Korean ferry he was on sank slowly into the ocean.
The mother responded with words of love and concern, but she received no response.
Read part of the text message exchange between a boy on the sinking Korean ferry and his mother pic.twitter.com/fqLvwHA0iq
— CBC News (@CBCNews) April 16, 2014
According to CBC News, the boy was one of the estimated 475 people on the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast Wednesday. At press time, six people had been confirmed dead, while some 290 people -- most of them high school students on a class trip -- remain missing, according to The Associated Press.
It is unclear whether or not the boy who sent the text has been rescued.
A mother weeps as she and others search for their children's names among a list of survivors rescued from a ferry that sank off the country's southern coast, at Danwon high school in Ansan, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
In a heartbreaking report, CNN's Andrew Salmon said other teens also texted their parents as the ferry began sinking.
"Dad, I can't get out," a young woman reportedly texted to her father. "The ship is slanted too much."
Salmon reported that the ferry took about two hours to sink completely. "There was, in a sense, ample time for people to address the situation and get off," he said. However, CNN reports that passengers aboard the ship, which had listed heavily onto its side, were told to stay in place and wait for rescuers.
"We were told to stay where you are, so we kept staying," one a survivor is quoted as saying, per CNN. "But later on, the water level came up. So we were beside ourselves. Kids were screaming out of terror, shouting for help."
The cause of the ferry's sinking has yet to be determined.