By chapter 19, Brian is unknowingly coming to the end of his journey. Following a terrible storm Brian realizes the plane has been lifted partially out of the water, and the tail section is above the waterline. After working on his shelter, trying to gather wood and supplies, which were scattered along the beach, he makes a plan to get into the plane. He is going to get the survival pack.
When he finally gets to the tail section he realizes he must dive under the water to get inside the plane. He finally gets the pack out of the plane and gets back to shore. He is so tired and worn out from the effort he immediately falls asleep. The next morning he awakens and grabs the survival gear and begins to go through the pack. There is a sleeping bag, freeze dried food, a rifle with ammunition, soap and everything he feels he would need to survive. He compares this day to the birthdays of all birthdays and looks at the gear as presents. He removes everything one at a time from the pack and feels good about his situation. Some of the other things in the pack were:
"An aluminum cook set with four little pots and two frying pans; it actually even had a fork and knife and spoon. A waterproof container with matches and two small butane lighters. A sheath knife with a compass and the handle. As if a compass would help him he thought smiling. A first-aid kit with bandages and tubes of antiseptic pate and small scissors. A cap that said CESSNA across the front in large letters. Why a cap? he wondered. It was adjustable and he put it on immediately. A fishing kit with four coils of line, a dozen small lures, and hooks and sinkers." Most importantly there was an emergency transmitter which he played with but since he couldn't hear anything he put it aside.
As Brian settled in for his first real meal in weeks a plane flies overhead and he is rescued. The pilot tells Brian that he received a signal from the emergency transmitter.
In the Epilogue Brian doesn't find anything in the plane; he is back home. The authorities, however, do return to the crash site and recover the body of the dead pilot.