Wrong Place, Wrong Time
August 6, 1945
Tsutomi Yamaguchi is on a business trip in Hiroshima. He is in an office meeting a client.
Suddenly there's an explosion and a flash across the sky. Mr Yamaguchi loses consciousness. He remembers nothing until he wakes up in a hospital ward.
'What happened?' he asks.
'A bomb,' people tell him. 'A terrible bomb!'
Mr Yamaguchi has very bad burns. But the patients around him have much worse injuries.
'I'm going home,' he says, climbing from his bed. Nobody stops him walking out of the hospital
The city is in chaos and its transport system has broken down. For many hours Mr Yamaguchi wanders around the city. He cannot believe the destruction he sees.
Eventually Mr Yamaguchi finds a reopened railway station. He catches the first train to his home town. Later that night he is back in his own bed. The nightmare is over.
The next morning Mr Yamaguchi goes back to work. His
boss is furious. ‘Where have you been?’ he shouts. ‘Why
weren’t you back yesterday?’
Mr Yamaguchi is surprised. ‘Didn't you hear about the
bomb in Hiroshima?’ he asks.
But the Japanese media has not reported the explosion. And his boss doesn't want to listen to Mr Yamaguchi's excuses.
'There was no bomb!' he shouts, banging his fist down on the desk. 'Those stupid bandages don’t fool anyone!’
At that moment there is a blinding flash. The second atomic bomb has struck.
High above Mr Yamaguchi’s office is another American plane. It is flying away from his home city – Nagasaki.
Mr Yamaguchi is the only known survivor of close contact with both atomic bombs. He died in January 2010.
About 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima. 70,000 died in Nagasaki. Many more later died from radiation-related illnesses.