Orlando (Florida): Charles Donald Albury, co-pilot of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, died after years of congestive heart failure. He was 88.

Albury died on May 23 at a hospital, Family Funeral Care in Orlando confirmed.

He helped fly the B-29 Bockscar that dropped the weapon on August 9, 1945, and witnessed the deployment of the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima three days earlier as a pilot for a support plane. His plane dropped instruments to measure the magnitude of the blast and levels of radioactivity for the Hiroshima mission led by Col. Paul Tibbets Jr.

“When Tibbets dropped the bomb, we dropped our instruments and made our left turn,” Albury told Time magazine four years ago. “Then this bright light hit us and the top of that mushroom cloud was the most terrifying but also the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Every colour in the rainbow seemed to be coming out of it.”

Three days later, Albury co-piloted the mission over Nagasaki. Cloud cover caused problems for the mission until the bombardier found a hole in the clouds. The 4,600-kg explosive killed an estimated 40,000 people. Another 35,000 died from injuries and radiation sickness. — AP

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