A teenager and a young man have been hospitalized with radiation symptoms in a central Mexican state where stolen radioactive material was recovered, authorities said Friday.
The 16-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man were under police custody at the hospital in Hidalgo state, with symptoms including vomiting, nausea and dizziness, but authorities did not make it clear whether they were suspected in the theft.
“The two have serious health problems,” said Hidalgo’s under secretary of health Jose Antonio Copca Garcia. Police have cordoned off the hospital in the city of Pachuca.
Authorities believe the pair had contact with a cancer-treating medical device that was on board a truck that was stolen in Hidalgo on Monday.
A capsule containing radioactive cobalt-60 that was removed from the device was found abandoned on a field about one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the truck on Wednesday.
Copca Garcia did not specify if the two are the suspected thieves or if they were part of a family that had been put under medical watch after touching the empty medical teletherapy machine.
The National Commission on Nuclear Safety and Safeguards has warned that whoever touched the radioactive source would likely die quickly.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that the material, which was on its way to a radioactive waste storage facility, was “extremely dangerous.