UTAH COUNTY (ABC4 News) – A Utah couple killed in a Helicopter crash in the Uinta Basin area have been identifed as Benno Anthony Penna, 32, with his wife, Megan Michele Hawk Penna, 32, from Ballard, Utah.
Utah County Sheriff said the two leave behind two small children. A six year old boy and a five year old girl.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to investigate a report of an overdue helicopter on Friday just before 3 p.m. after the United States Air Force reported to Central Utah Dispatch that a helicopter left a private residence in Ballard near Roosevelt Friday morning en route to South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan but had not arrived by 2 p.m. as planned.
Family members also reported the helicopter was overdue.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to search the area of Horsetail Falls in the mountains north of Alpine, in Utah County. A fixed wing aircraft with the UCSO, along with a Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter, also responded to search the area.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. the crew with the DPS helicopter located the wreckage of the overdue helicopter in the area of Schoolhouse Springs, also in the mountains north of Alpine, and found the couple had both died in the crash.
Sheriff’s said the area of the crash is steep, rugged, and is covered with rocks and heavy vegetation and recovery operations were put on hold late Friday as it was too dark to search.
Detectives, SAR volunteers, and NTSB and FAA investigators returned to the scene Saturday morning and recovered bodies of the young couple.
They were then taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville.
Officials said Benno Penna was the pilot in the crash.
“We don’t know what happened there,” said Utah County Sgt. Spencer Cannon on Friday. “One thing we do know is that there was some heavy weather in this area earlier today– whether that played a role in the crash today- we don’t know.”
This video of the couple was posted to Megan Hawk’s Facebook at 10:10 a.m. on Friday:
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.