Mexico: Robot retrieves stolen radioactive material that sickened six

Dec. 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Mexican police say a robot has retrieved radioactive cobalt-60 that sickened six people who came into contact with a stolen truck carrying the waste material.

A remotely-operated arm on the robot removed the cobalt-60 from a capsule that had been opened during the theft and placed it into a concrete-shielded container on another vehicle, El Universal reported Wednesday.

The truck and the radioactive material, which is used in medical procedures, were found Dec. 4 near Hueypoxtla, about 25 miles from where the truck was reported stolen.

Some 100 Federal Police maintained a two-mile security perimeter around the area until the cobalt-60 could be safely stored in the shielded container.

A man who reportedly had contact with the stolen capsule, Francisco Sanchez Angeles, 41, was admitted to a hospital Tuesday for examination.

His wife said Sanchez had carried the capsule on his shoulder to a wooded hill, where he hid the container in straw.

Hospital officials said Sanchez was vomiting and had burns on a shoulder when he was admitted.

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