Police spokesman Ewald Dorner confirmed that 49-year-old Arch was on board the helicopter, and had died as a result of his injuries.
It’s still a mystery what caused the helicopter to crash. The helicopter had been registered for a night flight to Salzburg airport and the weather conditions were good. The helicopter collided with a sloping rock face shortly after takeoff at around 9pm. Arch ran a flight transport company which delivers provisions to alpine huts.
His passenger, the 62-year-old warden of the Elberfeldstrasse hut, was found alive but seriously injured and has been taken to hospital in Lienz, Tirol.
Dorner said that it has been a large-scale mountain rescue; “mountain rescue specialists from Heiligenblut, Winklern and Lienz immediately went to the crash site – but it was so remote that it took three hours to get to”. The rescue team of 41 people included three paramedics, who arrived at the crash site at around 4.30 am.
Arch won the 2008 Red Bull Air Race World Series, the first European pilot to do so. He was born in Styria and lived in the city of Salzburg. Red Bull said he was one of the most “exciting and ambitious pilots” they had.
They added that as a younger man, Arch was a leading mountaineer, base jumper and climber, as well as being an aerobatic paraglider. He had worked for Red Bull for more than 25 years. He is survived by his girlfriend Miriam, his sister Lisa, his parents and nephews and nieces.
Aerial adventurer Hannes Arch. Photo: Markus Berger / Red Bull