Deadly but tiny radioactive capsule that fell off a truck on a remote desert road is miraculously found after three weeks
- Deadly missing radioactive capsule found
- It went missing in Western Australia
- Believed to have fallen off truck transporting it
- Rio Tinto apologised for the blunder
A tiny but deadly radioactive capsule missing in Western Australia has been miraculously found on an outback road.
WA authorities issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon stating that the ‘radioactive substance’ lost for three weeks had been located and ‘contained’ by searchers.
‘The radioactive substance has been found and no longer poses a risk to the community,’ the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said in a statement.
WA Authorities said the capsule (left) is similar to the size of an Australia 10 cent coin (right)
A broken gauge and missing screws are to blame for the disappearance of a dangerous radioactive capsule that is lost somewhere in Western Australia (pictured, authorities searching for the capsule)
The 8mm by 6mm item fell out of a density gauge while being trucked from a Rio Tinto mine in the Pilbara to Perth last month.
WA government officials said the capsule had been found on Wednesday just south of Newman on the Great Northern Highway.
The item was detected by a search vehicle travelling at 70km/h when specialist equipment picked up radiation emitting from the capsule.
Portable search equipment was then used to locate it two metres from the side of the road.
Search crews had spent six days scouring a 1400km route amid warnings the Caesium-137 in the capsule could cause radiation burns or sickness if handled and potentially dangerous levels of radiation with prolonged exposure.
Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said the discovery was remarkable considering the scope of the search.
‘This is an extraordinary result … they have quite literally found the needle in the haystack,’ he told reporters.
A government investigation has been launched into the incident and a report will be provided to the health minister.
Defence officials are verifying the identification of the capsule which has been placed into a lead container for safety.
It will be stored in a secure location in Newman before being transported to a Perth health facility.
Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the capsule did not appear to have moved and no injuries had been reported.
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