Family of couple who died in Utah County helicopter crash issues statement

The family of Benno Penna, and his wife, Megan Hawk Penna, offers its gratitude for the outpouring of community support in the aftermath of Friday's fatal helicopter crash. Photo: Facebook

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, May 19, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The family of the couple who lost their lives Friday when the helicopter they were flying crashed in the mountains above Alpine issued a statement Sunday evening.

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

Investigators say Benno Anthony Penna and his wife, Megan Hawk Penna, who lived in Ballard, Utah, were the only ones aboard the four-seat Robinson R-44. They were flying west from Vernal Regional Airport to South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

The couple were co-owners of Hawk Transport, a business that provided companies with “customized transportation and logistics results.” They also owned and operated HolloHawk Oilfield Services, a business that supplied support to drilling operations.

Authorities released their names Sunday after notifying family members, including the couple’s two young children.

Utah County officials first learned the helicopter had not arrived at its destination after a relative of one of the Pennas called Air Force officials to report the helicopter was overdue. Those officials contacted Utah County Sheriff’s Office, which mobilized multiple agencies for a search.

At 6:13 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff’s Office, tweeted to the media and public that the search was underway.

“UCSO SAR with airplane and DPS helicopter responding to report of overdue helicopter in mountains above Alpine.”

At 7:07 p.m., Cannon tweeted that the “missing helicopter has been located,” offering no additional details. Soon after, he posted that any drones or private helicopters in the area must leave.

“Drones and private aircraft must stay away or they may face criminal charges. Please comply!” he wrote.

The next tweet, at 8:32 p.m. Friday, showed a map with the approximate location of the helicopter, on the mountain northeast of Alpine.

“The terrain is steep and rugged with heavy vegetation. NTSB & FAA will respond to conduct their investigations,” Cannon’s tweet said.

At 9:16 p.m. Friday, the bad news was officially confirmed.

“There were two people on board the helicopter that crashed above Alpine in Utah County earlier today. Both were killed in the crash,” Cannon tweeted.


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