By Anupum Pant
Two nuclear bomb blasts which resulted in a complete annihilation of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, involved deadly X-ray-heated fireballs sending off a shock waves in all directions at a velocity greater than the speed of sound. In theory, no object, living or dead, should have stood straight after the shock wave passed. At least, some person standing at just a 3 km distance from both the places, where Little boy and Fat man were dropped, should have completely been vaporized; Twice!
Tsutomu Yamaguchi didn’t die. He survived the immediate effects of, not one, but two nuclear bombs. Moreover, he was just 3 km away from both the ground zeros. Both of these bombings happened within a three-day span, during which, after having seen the first blast, he found the time to travel to the second site.
Although it is estimated that there are about 160+ such people, no one except Tsutomu Yamaguchi has officially been recognized to have survived both the nuclear bombs.
However he did die due to lung cancer on January 4, 2010. He died at an age of 93. So, technically the bombs didn’t kill him and he lived decades past the average human age.
First Bomb: Yamaguchi was going back to Nagasaki after a three-month long stay in Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945 when he was heading to the railway station to catch the train to Nagasaki, he found out that he’d forgotten his travel pass. He went back to take it. It was on his way back to the station (the second time), he saw the bomb falling down with a parachute. An instant later, everything went white. He was temporarily blinded, his ear drums got ruptured and he was burnt all over.
Second Bomb: With great difficulty he made it to an air-raid shelter, spent the night there and left for Nagasaki the next morning.Three days later, on August 9th, he thought he was fine to go back to work. At work, When he was explaining his burns to his boss who was listening in disbelief, the second air raid happened. Again, it was the same blinding lights that fell over this city now. Luckily, the second time he wasn’t affected with as many injuries. However, he had been exposed to a huge radiation dose which probably caused the cancer that killed him.
Isn’t is fascinating how millions of tiny little events had to happen at the right time and place for Yamaguchi to see and survive both of the nuclear bombs.