ALPINE — A Uintah County couple were identified Sunday as the victims of a fatal helicopter crash.
The pilot, Benno Anthony Penna, 32, and his wife, Megan Michele Hawk Penna, also 32, were killed on impact in the Friday crash in the mountains north of Alpine, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
They leave behind a son, age 6, and a daughter, age 5.
Just before 3 p.m. Friday, deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office were notified of an overdue helicopter that had left a private residence in Ballard, Uintah County. The helicopter was headed to the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan and was expected at 2 p.m.
The downed chopper was found in the area of Schoolhouse Springs in rugged mountainous terrain.
Authorities say the unsettled weather may have been a factor in the crash.
Megan Penna, who owns an art studio in Ballard, posted photos and a video on Facebook about 10 a.m. Friday of her and her husband flying "above the clouds."
Friends and relatives initially wrote enthusiastic comments about the Facebook post, then later began writing words of condolence.
"A wonderful way to remember them. Their memorial from the heavens. Rest in peace Megan and Benno. You will always be remembered in the fondest ways," one man wrote.
"Sending love, light and energy healing along with prayers to your family. Both truly are flying high above the clouds now. Godspeed my friends!" wrote another.
"See you Two in Paradise. Until then I'll be missing your beautiful faces," one woman posted.
Another wrote, "(The) clouds almost look like I'd picture heaven. My prayers are with your family and friends."
Late Sunday, the Penna, Zubiate and Hawk family released a statement.1 comment on this story
"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."
In the statement, they added: "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."