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Fact 74: You can be both the luckiest and unluckiest man on Earth

Fact: Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived the atomic attack on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and is the only person to be officially recognised by the government of Japan to have done so.

Explanation: Tsutomu Yamaguchi was an engineer working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - he helped design oil tankers. Yamaguchi worked and lived in Nagasaki, but he went to Hiroshima in 1945 on a business trip, which was to end on August 6 and on that day he was actually preparing to leave. However, he realised he forgot his documents, so he returned to his workplace - and that was when the bomb exploded, three kilometres from him. He suffered burns, his eardrums were ruptured and the flash blinded him, but he survived. Having rested, he set out to find his colleagues, with whom he was to travel back to Nagasaki. Finding they survived, all three of them rested in a shelter and the next day travelled to Nagasaki, where they received treatment.

A few days later, on August 9, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (interestingly Nagasaki wasn’t the primary target, but the bad weather conditions over Kokura prompted a change of targets), again about three kilometres from Yamaguchi. This time the blast didn’t injure him directly, but he was unable to receive further treatment (as the city was in ruins). Suffering from high fever for many days, he eventually recovered and led a relatively normal life until 2009, when he was recognised as the first and only double atomic bomb survivor (although about 160 such people are known, they are not recognised by the government).

Mr Yamaguchi died in 2010 from stomach cancer, at an age of 93.