Mexico's public-health scare turned into a logistical hurdle Thursday as authorities sought to safely put a stolen load of radioactive material back into its container.
As officials worked on the material, federal police and soldiers formed a cordon of several hundred yards around the field in Hueypoxtla where a container of highly radioactive cobalt-60 was abandoned after it was stolen from truck drivers transporting it to a storage facility in central Mexico. [...]
The drivers of the cargo truck were sleeping at a gas station this week when gunmen assaulted them and stole their truck. Mexican nuclear safety officials said they believed the carjackers did not know what they were stealing and that they may die from exposure to the radioactive material.
The IAEA said in its statement that it "would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period in the range of a few minutes to an hour." It is unclear how long the material was handled by the carjackers or others who found it later.
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
I'd personally nominate these obvious contenders for the Darwin Award, but the award should go to those who self select against stupidity, who remove themselves from the genepool before breeding. This is problematic if they also select against all life in zone a mile around themselves, removing everything else from the gene pool as well.
Hell, when I slowed down next to a semi hauling something radioactive to take some pictures, a Sheriff pulled me over about ten minutes later, demanding to know just what the hell I thought I was doing.
But I guess that's Alabama.
What happens when the Cobalt 60 source gets stolen and really broken into...
Yeah, I just read the Wikipedia summary of that last night. Nightmarish!
And apparently fatal radiation leaks are like drunk driving crashes: the prick responsible doesn't die. Thanks, life!
"On September 13, 1987, the guard in charge of daytime security, Voudireinão da Silva, did not show up to work, using a sick day to attend a cinema screening of Herbie Goes Bananas with his family."
It's the little details that make the story.
Holy shit. That was like a cabin-in-the-woods horror story, except real. Me, reading that article:
"Oh no. Oh no no no.
"OH GOD STOP."
"RUN. AWAY. NOW."
That was caesium-137 rather than cobalt-60. There has been a similar incident with cobalt-60 though, if your life needs more radiological horror stories.
I risk showing my age by admitting that the image of the glowing car screams to me "A Quinn Martin production".
Those poor dumb radioactive thieves.
I dug the sly Ernie Kovacs reference.
Reminds me of the excellent short story PU-239 in which ignorant criminals steal plutonium without really realizing what it is.