They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, however this has been proven to be untrue many times over. Similarly, just because you think you've avoided possibly the worst, most traumatic, most deadly moment of your life, doesn't something similar isn't going to pop up again like an annoying relative. It's all a matter of luck, perspective, and just how drunk god may have been at that point of time.
Consider the storied life of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a Japanese man who passed away at the age of 93, but by all accounts should have died many years earlier.
In 1945, the then 29-year-old naval engineer was on a 3-month-long business trip for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. He and his colleagues had spent the summer working on the design for a new oil tanker, and he was looking forward to leaving the city and going home. Leaving which city, you ask?
Yamaguchi was preparing to leave Hiroshima. Yeah, the Hiroshima. It was August 6, around 8 am when he saw an American plane drop the atom bomb, and complete hell followed.
Yamaguchi, who was around 3 km away from ground zero, dived into a ditch after seeing the sky explode into what looked like a magnesium flare. The shock wave of the blast spun him in the air and threw him into a potato patch. When he regained some senses, he saw a mushroom cloud in the sky, ash raining all around, and the darkness due to the sun being blackened out by the debris.
The explosion ruptured his eardrums, blinded him temporarily and badly burned the top half of his body. But - miracle of miracles - he was alive.
Somehow, Yamaguchi stumbled upon an air-raid shelter, and spent the night there with 2 other surviving co-workers. Along with way, there was a nightmarish scene of burnt corpses, and at one point he even had to swim through a river of dead bodies. The next day, they took a train to his home town, where his wife and child were waiting for him.
Unfortunately, Yamaguchi's home town happened to be Nagasaki. For some reason, he went into work on August 9 despite his condition, and was explaining the Hiroshima blast to his boss when the 2nd bomb hit.
Yet again, he was around 3 km away from ground zero, but this time he wasn't injured as badly. The city’s hilly landscape and a reinforced stairwell had worked to soften the blast inside the office. He went out later to look for his family, who had also survived somehow. However, his bandages were blown off and he was irradiated a second time, making him very sick for a few weeks.
His burns got infected, radiation poisoning made him vomit continuously, and he suffered from a high fever. But he survived.
On August 15, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced the country’s surrender, and Yamaguchi recovered almost completely over time. Quite miraculous, as he had not only lived through 2 atomic bombings, but also the massive amounts of radiation they cause.
Over the next many years, he worked as a translator, a teacher, and finally went back to his engineering career at Mitsubishi. He had more kids, and was the only person officially recognized by the Japanese government as a 'nijyuu hibakusha', or 'twice-bombed person' in 2009. In 2010, this marvel of a man - both lucky and unlucky in equal measure - passed away at the age of 93.