How does Brian get rescued in Hatchet?

In chapter 19 of Hatchet, Brian is rescued when he uses the emergency transmitter from the emergency pack he retrieved from the crashed plane. A pilot of a bushplane hears the signal and lands on the lake to rescue Brian.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 19 of Hatchet, Brian opens up a survival pack that contains many useful items. One of the items is an emergency transmitter. Brian tries to turn it on, but as nothing seems to happen, he infers that it was broken in the crash and isn't working.

In the event, Brian's assumptions turn out to have been wrong—thankfully. The emergency transmitter really did work after all. A pilot, who turns out to be a fur buyer, of all things, heard the transmitter, swooped down, and came to land on the lake.

Brian is just about ready to eat the meal he's prepared from the dried-food packets he found in the survival pack when the pilot approaches him and tells him about the transmitter signal. The pilot had heard that people were looking for someone and immediately puts two and two together and realizes that they were looking for Brian.

Brian can't quite take in everything that's happening. In the event, he's so dumbfounded at his imminent rescue after spending so long alone in the wilderness,that he can only tell the pilot his name and ask him if he'd like to have something to eat. Brian's remarkable adventure is now at an end.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 18, Brian makes several trips to the submerged plane and manages to cut a hole in the tail of the plane big enough for him to enter. Eventually, Brian discovers the survival pack against the backs of the seat and recovers the precious equipment. When Brian returns to shore, he is too exhausted to search through the survival pack and immediately falls asleep. The next morning, Brian opens the survival pack and is ecstatic about the contents inside, which eventually contribute to his rescue. Inside the survival pack, Brian discovers a sleeping bag, various cooking implements, fishing gear, and a first-aid kit.

Brian is also surprised to find a .22 survival rifle but experiences a strange feeling because he believes that the weapon gives him an unfair advantage over nature. By far the most important piece of equipment Brian discovers is an emergency transmitter. Brian proceeds to turn the transmitter's switch on and off a few times before setting it down against the wall. Since the transmitter makes no noise and does not elicit any response, he assumes it is broken.

Shortly after rummaging through the survival pack and making a meal from the rations inside the bag, a bush plane with floats arrives to save Brian. After landing the plane on the water, the pilot explains to Brian that he heard the emergency transmitter and spotted the submerged plane in the lake. Apparently, Brian accidentally left the emergency transmitter on, which attracted the pilot flying nearby. After spending fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, Brian is rescued and returns to civilization.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 19 of Hatchet, Brian goes through the survival pack that he retrieved from the wreckage of the airplane the previous day. It is full of items that he could have used earlier during his time marooned in the wilderness. There are first aid supplies, a fishing kit, food, and even a rifle. One of the items is an emergency transmitter. Brian flips the switch a few times and then puts it aside, assuming that it was broken in the crash. Brian is more interested in the food in the pack anyway.

As he is preparing the first meal in a long time that he did not have to hunt or forage for himself, a bushplane unexpectedly flies overhead. It then comes to a landing on the lake. It all happens so fast that Brian barely has time to register what is going on. When the pilot gets out, he is shocked to see Brian. He says that he heard the emergency transmission and came to check it out. He then saw the crashed plane in the lake and decided to land on the water. The pilot is amazed to see Brian and tells him that the search for him ended a couple of months earlier. With this, Brian is rescued and flown back to civilization.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Gary Paulsen's novel Hatchet, Brian Robeson is a passenger traveling by plane across the wilderness of Minnesota when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian survives the subsequent plane crash and has to learn how to survive in the wilderness, alone, with nothing but a hatchet in his possession. Over the course of the novel, the story of his survival unfolds. He must recover from injuries sustained in the crash. He has to learn how to build a shelter, make fire, and secure food. He must learn what things are safe to eat and what things are not and find a way to protect himself against predators.

His rescue comes toward the end of the novel. When Brian musters up the courage to retrieve the emergency kit from the downed plane, there is an emergency transmitter in the pack. A pilot hears the transmitter and lands at the lake, finding and rescuing Brian.

The pilot cut the engine, opened the door, and got out, balanced, and stepped forward on the float to hop onto the sand without getting his feet wet. He was wearing sunglasses and he took them off to stare at Brian. "I heard your emergency transmitter—then I saw the plane when I came over..." He trailed off, cocked his head, studying Brian. "Damn. You're him, aren't you? You're that kid. They quit looking, a month, no, almost two months ago. You're him, aren't you? You're that kid"

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial