returned to Europe late in 1996, then rode out the rest of the year
at home in Austria, deciding what their next move should be. 1997
brought ArnoCorps a plethora of offers from clubs all over Europe,
sharing the bill with such bands as Bus Stop Junkies, Death Alley
and even a brief reunion with Dagobah.
Then, in a town just outside Oslo, the band got a telegram from
promoter Timothy Dalsey offering them a chance to go on a return
UK tour with London performer-extremist Wally Bourbon and The Two
Quid. "Of course, in hindsight, I wish I'd never sent that damn
telegram." said Mr. Dalsey.
2:33 AM on March 22, 1998, the four members of ArnoCorps boarded
a small charter flight at the airport in Zurich. The weather was
anything but ideal for flying, but ArnoCorps insisted that veteran
pilot Rolf Siegrist take off. When the plane didn't land at Luton
as planned, there was little concern. It was assumed they'd taken
off late. But, when hours turned into days and still no word from
ArnoCorps or their pilot was received, concern gave way to utter
horror. The Swiss airport reported the take off being made smoothly
and that radio contact was exchanged periodically every 15 minutes
or so and then, after a transmission at 3:42 AM, the plane carrying
ArnoCorps was never heard from again.
(The events that followed are difficult to piece together and are
subject to theories and assumptions. Holzfeuer's refusal in relating
the events leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but what is known
has been collected from the various official reports made by the
collaborating agencies involved. Their cooperation is greatly appreciated)
scoured the Les Hautes Alpes in France for signs of the wreckage.
By the second week, the combination of the area's lack of any natural
food sources and increasingly colder temperatues had put an end
to anyone's hopes of finding survivors. "We felt it was our duty
to make an effort to find the wreckage, so that their family members
could give them a proper burial." said Captain Matthew Hensley,
the man in charge of aerial searches for Lyons. But, weeks of searching
with nothing to show for it was becoming too costly and to many
seemed to be more and more an exercise in futility.
was to be the last day of the search, my pilots were needed elsewhere
and funding for the seach had been cut off," explains Captain Hensley.
"It was getting dark, so I was calling the pilots to return. Steven
Olson had wanted to check out one more thing before returning. He
didn't say what it was, but I told him to return as soon as he was
was yelling over the radio and, at first, I thought maybe he was
having instrument trouble, but then I listened closer. He kept repeating,
'I've found them, I've found them!' I gathered what men I could
and we flew off toward Steven's coordinates. The odd thing was that
the weather had begun to clear as the forecast was calling for increasing
storms. Visibility was near 90%, the wind was more like a soft breeze.
I got the feeling Crom was on our side this day.
we arrived at the crash site, we noticed Steven was not alone, that
indeed there were survivors. It turned out there had been only one
survivor, Holzfeuer, but that was one more than we'd ever expected
to find. Another thing we hadn't expected to find was the horrific
state of the dead. The bodies looked as though they'd been ripped
apart, devoured. Holzfeuer talked of wolves that closed in on the
wreckage one night and feasted on his dead bandmates and pilot.
I had other questions for the surviving Holzfeuer, but kept them
to myself until we returned him to safety. As weeks went by, Holzfeuer
was forced to explain why he seemed in good health at the time of
his rescue, not frail and weak like one would expect from someone
who'd been weeks with almost no food and who'd been through such
a terrifying ordeal. He told us that he survived by eating the wolves
that had eaten the others. He told that he had waited for the wolves
to return, '...and while they were resting after feasting on Karl's
remains, I dropped down upon them from the fussilage. As I was snapping
necks and crushing skulls, I felt as though I was a great knight
and I was battling an invading brood in the name of country. That
night, I feasted on the wolves whose bellies were full with the
blood of my Arno-brethren.'
when I forged on further and asked why no remains of wolves were
found at the crash site, the young man said he didn't know and suggested
that other wolves dragged off the remains. It is knowing that no
species of wolf or any other type of carniverous animal is indigenous
to the area makes me shudder."
the tragic incident, ArnoCorps has been subject of its own lore.
Fans have suggested that by ingesting the wolves, Holzfeuer had
inherited the energy and spirit of his men, that he invokes this
power for his writing and stage presence, that its as though he
becomes several different people when on stage. This is further
perpetuated by the physical transformation Holzfeuer seemed to have
made after the crash. Not only was he bigger in the muscle sense
of the word, but doctors noted that he had actually grown by three
full inches, one for each member of the band so the rumor goes.
Of course, this is all modern folklore and is to be taken lightly.