ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A longtime reporter-videographer at an Albuquerque TV station has died after the news helicopter he was piloting crashed in central New Mexico, authorities said Sunday.
Bob Martin, 64, was pronounced dead at the crash scene Saturday night, according to New Mexico State Police.
KRQE-TV said Martin worked for the station for more than 20 years, frequently shooting, writing and editing stories. It was not immediately clear whether Martin was headed to cover a story when the crash happened.
"Here at KRQE, we all had great respect for Bob and cherished his friendship," the station said on its website Sunday morning.
KRQE said the helicopter crashed about 4:30 p.m. Saturday in rugged terrain north of Carrizozo, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of Albuquerque.
State Police said it was notified of a downed aircraft shortly after 5 p.m. and found the remnants of the helicopter and with its sole occupant.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the cause of the crash, police said.
Martin graduated from New Mexico's Socorro High School and earned a mass communications and journalism degree at Eastern New Mexico University, KRQE said.
Martin often covered wildfires. He won two Rocky Mountain Emmys and several Albuquerque Press Club awards for his reporting and documentary work, the station said.
Martin also reported from combat zones about New Mexico-based military troops and civilians deployed to hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Martin was a commercial helicopter and airplane pilot, had an expert sport skydiver's license and enjoyed scuba diving.
KRQE did not immediately provide details about Martin's survivors or funeral plans.
Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com