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Mexican cobalt-60 thieves will soon die of radiation exposure, say officials

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winding road stock 1020
winding road stock 1020

The radioactive material hijacked in a Mexico truck heist has been recovered and, although the two gunmen remain on the run, officials believe they won't have long to live. The abandoned cobalt-60 was found removed from its casing about 25 miles from where it was stolen, according to The Washington Post, meaning that the men responsible will likely have been exposed to a material described by the International Atomic Energy Agency as "extremely dangerous."

"They will, without a doubt, die."

"The people who handled it will have severe problems with radiation," says Mardonio Jimenez of Mexico’s nuclear safety commission. "They will, without a doubt, die." The discovery of the truck and cobalt-60 brings to an end a two-day hunt across six Mexican states, with authorities worried that the thieves might have been looking to create a dirty bomb.

But it's now thought that the two men didn't know what was inside the truck, which was en route to a local storage facility, and only unsealed the material out of curiosity. "I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had," says Jimenez. "They were interested in the crane, in the vehicle.”