Immediately after Jonas flees the community with Gabriel, the Elders send search planes to look for them. The search planes are equipped with heat-sensing technology, which forces Jonas to conjure cold memories and transfer them to Gabriel in order to lower their core temperature and avoid detection. Fortunately, Jonas and Gabriel are able to avoid the heat-sensing search planes as they travel further into the wilderness towards Elsewhere.
As Jonas and Gabriel continue their journey, Jonas becomes aware that the Elders are gradually giving up their search because the planes flying overhead become less and less frequent. When Jonas does spot a plane, he notices that they also fly at a faster speed "as if the search had become haphazard and no longer hopeful" (Lowry, 169). Finally, there comes a day when Jonas does not see a single plane in the sky and realizes that the Elders have completely abandoned their search for him and Gabriel.