My skin hung loose like dirty rag: Nagasaki survivor recounts horror
It has been 70 long years since the city of Nagasaki became the victim of indescribable trauma unleashed when the US dropped an atomic bomb codenamed 'Fat Boy' on the fateful morning of August 9, 1945. However the scars and memories remain intact, perhaps too intense to be wiped by the waves of time.
Tokyo: It has been 70 long years since the city of Nagasaki became the victim of indescribable trauma unleashed when the US dropped an atomic bomb codenamed 'Fat Boy' on the fateful morning of August 9, 1945. However the scars and memories remain intact, perhaps too intense to be wiped by the waves of time.
As Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the bombing with memorials and ceremony, one of the survivors, an octogenarian stood at the Nagasaki Peace Park to recount what happened on the unfortunate day of August 9, 1945.
Speaking in a feeble voice, the 86-year-old, Sumiteru Taniguchi delivered a heart-rending account of the fateful day when the bomb exploded over the city of Nagasaki.
said that he was a 16-year-old postman, riding his bike when the bomb exploded.
Describing the horrific account of what happened next, he said, “suddenly from behind came a rainbow of light” and he was blown over and crushed into the road by the formidable force of the explosion.
“When I attempted to stand, I discovered, the skin of my left arm was hanging loose like a dirty rag from my shoulder right down to my fingers,” the BBC quoted him as saying at the ceremony that was attended by PM Shinzo Abe and delegates from 75 countries.
In a heart-rending account “You can still see my heart beating between my ribs because it was as if my chest was scooped out,” he added.
He further described how he felt his skin coming into his hands like slime when he reached for his back that had received severe burn injuries.
“Strangely I didn't bleed a single drop of blood and neither did I feel pain,” he added.
He spent the next two days wandering through the ruins of the city in a daze before he was rescued on the third day.
For the next 21 months, he remained hospitalised, lying on his stomach as he received treatment for his burns that covered most of his back.
The 86-year-old also remembers how at one point of time he wanted the nurses to kill him to avoid bearing immense pain.
Sumiteru Taniguchi, who has tolerated seven decades of anguish triggered by the atomic bombing, still lives in pain, with burn scars covering his back and remains of three ribs, half of which decomposed away.
Taniguchi is a prominent activist for a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons and also the chairman of the Nagasaki Council of the Atomic Bomb Sufferers.