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Family releases statement in deadly helicopter crash of Ballard couple

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Sunday evening the family of Benno and Megan Penna released a statement on their deaths.

The married couple died in a plane crash Friday in the mountains near Alpine.

They were both 32 years old.

The statement reads: “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 pair were snapped in a picture Friday morning inflight.

It was posted to Megan’s Facebook page.

So was a video. The footage shows what some of the weather conditions were that day.

“You can see the clouds in some areas where it was more open,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon of Utah County’s Sheriff’s Office. “Other areas where it was fully overcast with clouds.”

The Department of Public Safety located the wreckage in Schoolhouse Springs around 6:30 P.M. Friday evening.

“The area where it is if you look on a map you get into the steeper cliffs below, low peak wilderness area, steep terrain with the rocks and vegetation,” said Cannon.

The wreckage was found after the United States Air Force alerted Central Utah Dispatch the aircraft was overdue.

It took off from a private residence in Ballard earlier in the day.  It was scheduled to arrive at the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan at 2 p.m.

Cannon said, “there was a small fire. It wasn’t fully engulfed by any means with the wreckage, but there was a small fire in part of the helicopter. It didn’t destroy the whole thing.” 

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Officials don’t know yet if the fire happened before or after the crash.

They do know Mr. Penna was the pilot.

Officials say the helicopter was a Robinson 44 which sits four people.

“What we were told is that he had either leased this aircraft,” said Cannon. “This helicopter, or was for lack of better terms giving it a test run on consideration of leasing it.” 
  
The couple leaves behind a six-year-old son and five-year-old daughter.

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