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Friday, 17 March, 2000, 02:57 GMT
Hiroshima bombardier dies
hiroshima
140,000 people died in Hiroshima
The US bombardier who dropped the first atomic bomb has died at home after a brief illness.

Thomas Wilson Ferebee, 81, was a major in 6 August 1945, when he dropped the bomb on the western Japanese city of Hiroshima from the B-29 Enola Gay.

Mr Ferebee, who retired from the Air Force in 1970, said he never felt guilt for his part in the bombing.

bombardier
Thomas Wilson Ferebee at the time of the war
But he did express some regrets about the use of nuclear weapons.

"I'm sorry an awful lot of people died from that bomb, and I hate to think that something like that had to happen to end the war," Mr Ferebee said in a 1995 interview on the 50th anniversary of the bombing.

The only other man who has dropped a nuclear bomb in war, Nagasaki bombardier Kermit Beahan, died in 1989.

Surrender

Japan surrendered five days after the Nagasaki bomb was dropped.

The Enola Gay's pilot, retired Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, had hand-picked Mr Ferebee for his crew and called him "the best bombardier who ever looked through the eyepiece of a Norden bomb sight."

There are now only four surviving members of the Enola Gay's crew: Mr Tibbets, navigator Ted Van Kirk, weapons officer Morris Jeppson and radio operator Richard Nelson.
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19 Oct 99 | Asia-Pacific
Japan 'should consider nuclear arms'
09 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
Japan blasts N-tests
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