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Uintah County Couple Killed In Helicopter Crash in Mountains North Of Alpine

Posted On : 5/19/2019 11:12:05 AM

A couple from Ballard, in Uintah County, died when the helicopter they were flying crashed in the mountains north of Alpine sometime Friday. Their bodies were recovered Saturday.

*** PRESS RELEASE May 19, 2019 ***

On May 17, 2019, shortly before 3:00 PM, Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) were dispatched to investigate a report of an overdue helicopter. The United States Air Force reported to Central Utah Dispatch that a helicopter left a private residence in Ballard, Utah, near Roosevelt in Uintah County Friday morning en route to South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, Utah. Family members reported that the helicopter was overdue from its expected 2:00 PM arrival time.

Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) 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 PM 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. Both occupants of the helicopter were killed in the crash. The area of the crash is steep, rugged, and is covered with rocks and heavy vegetation.

As darkness closed in Friday night, recovery operations were put on hold. Utah County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, SAR volunteers, and NTSB and FAA investigators returned to the scene Saturday morning. The bodies of both victims were recovered and taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville. The pilot of the helicopter was Benno Anthony Penna, age 32, with his wife, Megan Michele Hawk Penna, also age 32, from Ballard, Utah. They leave behind two children, a six year old boy and a five year old girl.

For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

(801)404-1913 - Cell

(801)851-4333 - Office

Twitter: @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO