The theft of radioactive material has prompted high alerts in nine Mexican states.
Officials issued the alerts after a vehicle carrying mobile industrial radiography equipment filled with Iridium-192 was stolen in the city of Tlaquepaque in the state of Jalisco.
“This was industrial equipment that included Iridium-192… which can be dangerous for people if it is taken out of its container,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
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The company which handles the equipment, Tecnología No Destructiva, SA de CV, reported the theft of a white Nissan pickup truck on Sunday, saying it contained a metallic box with radiography tools filled with Iridium-192.
The loss of the unknown amount of radioactive material prompted the head of national emergency services, Luis Felipe Puente, to issue an alert in nine states.
⚠⚠Alerta en #Jal, #Col, #Nay, #Ags, #Gto, #Mich, #SLP, #Dgo y #Zac, por fuente radiactiva robada . Si la ves repórtala al 911 y no la abras. pic.twitter.com/Z9L93BG1Bo
— Luis Felipe Puente (@LUISFELIPE_P) April 24, 2017
Taking to Twitter on Monday, Puente issued a public search alert for the stolen material in the states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan San Luis Potosi, Durango, and Zacatecas.
Warning the public that the material must be handled with extreme caution, Puente said that Iridium-192 could cause “permanent injury to anyone who manipulates or is in contact with it for a short time.”
The head of the National Civil Protection Coordination has urged anyone who might locate the stolen vehicle or its contents not to open the metal box and to immediately alert the authorities.
Theft of radioactive material in Mexico is a somewhat of a common occurrence. Last year a container of radioactive substance used for industrial X-rays was also taken along with a car. Similar occurrences also happened in April 2015 and in July 2014.