ALPINE, Utah – A helicopter crash in mountainous area north of Alpine area killed a couple from Ballard, Utah.
Benno Penna, 32, and Megan Hawk Penna, 32, were killed when the Robinson R-44 went down Friday.
Megan posted pictures and video to Facebook of what appeared to be their final flight. The video showed Benno at the controls soaring in a bright, blue sky above the clouds.
At one point, Megan flipped the camera around to smile in the video. There was no obvious sign that anything was wrong.
Sergeant Spencer Cannon, spokesperson for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, said the couple were flying from a home near Ballard, Utah to the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan.
Someone reported the couple overdue and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Department of Public Safety began to search. A DPS helicopter crew spotted the wreckage and confirmed the couple had been killed. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene Saturday documenting the scene. Cannon said there was evidence of a fire at the crash scene, though it was not obvious whether the fire happened before or after the crash.
According to FAA records, Benno earned a private pilot certificate in April 2018 and held a current medical certificate. A search of the helicopter’s tail number showed it was built in 2005 and registered to a corporation in Salt Lake City.
Cannon said the couple have two young children, a 6-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.
The families of the couple released the following statement.
Statement from the family of Benno and Megan Penna
The Penna family is heartbroken at the loss of Benno and Megan Penna.
Benno was a devoted husband and father who loved helping friends and family. Megan was a devoted wife, mother and business partner with Benno. Megan loved working with her husband and they both adored their kids.
The family is so grateful for the outpouring of community love and support during this very difficult time. The family is asking for privacy at this time. Please hold your calls, messages and visits until we have enough time to grieve the loss of Benno and Megan.
The Penna, Zubiate and Hawk family