ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – KRQE News 13 pilot reporter Bob Martin was known for seeking adventure. It just so happens that one of those adventures led him to the Baja coast to witness an Albuquerque man set a world record, and Mayor Richard Berry was with him.
“It’s a story that I will tell until I’m an old man,” Mayor Berry said. “It wasn’t about Bob, it was about telling the story.”
No one could predict, not even the mayor, what it would take or what Bob Martin and a chase crew would go through to get that story.
“I didn’t know Bob that well at the time,” he said. “I knew who he was, a famous guy.”
A famous guy who loved science and craved adventure. In January 2015, Albuquerque Balloonist Troy Bradley and his fellow pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev launched their gas balloon, Two Eagles, from Japan. They had hopes of breaking world records for going farther and staying aloft longer than anyone before.
Their chase crew, back in the United States, received news the two would land somewhere along the west coast, near Baja, Mexico.
So they flew to Cabo, rented cars and headed north toward Baja. They drove for hours into the night and in the middle of a rain storm.
“You can’t even see the hood of the car because it’s raining so hard. You can kind of get a glimpse, every once in a while when the lightning strikes, that half the road is actually gone,” Berry said. “But we’re driving and Bob is just there, the guy is just an adventurer at heart.”
Berry said during their stay, the group had been warned by locals.
“About being careful about folks. You know, that may want to rob you,” he said.
A few days in and they got more bad news: Two Eagles wasn’t going to make it to shore. If the crew wanted to see it land and witness Bradley and Tiukhtyaev break the world record, they would have to go into the pacific ocean.
The mayor said that didn’t stop Bob. He said Bob found two fisherman with a boat and found a way.
“Bob figures out a way and the crew figured out a way, I assume, to pay these two gentlemen to take them out,” he said. “They push it out into the waves. The waves are crashing and there’s Bob with his camera.”
That day, Bob captured a piece of history that he shared, first hand, with New Mexicans.
“It was inspiring to watch Bob do what he did to be able to deliver that story to the community that he loved,” Berry said.