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As the plane plunges downward, Brian is in a panic, thinking over and over that he's going to die. He doesn't see any lakes ahead of him—only trees.
Finally, up ahead and a little to the right, he spots one, and he pushes the rudder pedal slightly to aim for it. Turning slows the plane down a little, and for a moment everything seems to stand still as Brian looks down at the trees and the lake below him.
Then suddenly the plane is speeding through an open lane, a narrow channel of fallen trees that leads towards the lake. Brian pulls up on the wheel. The wings of the plane catch on the trees and Brian is slammed against the front of the plane. Gulp.
The plane crashes through the trees and into the lake, breaking the windshield and driving down into the cold water, Brian screaming the whole time. Yeah, we know—there's a lot of screaming in this book.
Underwater now, Brian claws his way out the broken windshield and swims up and up toward the surface. He doesn't think he's going to make it, but he just barely does.
He swims and drags himself to the edge of the lake, pulling himself up onto the bank with the help of the weeds growing in the shallows. Hey, if we bought it in Lost, we have to suspend our disbelief here, too, right?