Six people admitted for possible radiation exposure to a hospital in central Mexico are considered suspects in the theft of a truck carrying material that could be used to make a "dirty bomb," according to a Mexican government official.
The official told the Associated Press on Friday evening — on the condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the media — that the six were arrested Thursday and taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing for radiation exposure.
The patients were admitted to the general hospital in the city of Pachuca, about 60 miles northeast of Mexico City.
The spokeswoman for Secretary of Health of the state of Hidalgo told Fox News Latino the six patients had contact with a capsule that contained dangerous radioactive material, cobalt-60, and had been released from the hospital.
The secretary of Health of Hidalgo State, Pedro Luis Noble, Hidalgo state said none of the six people are in grave condition and may be released soon, according to the AP.
Mexico's El Universal newspaper the six people were contaminated with possible radiation symptoms and they are quarantined and isolated from the general hospital population.
Another unnamed official, who spoke Friday to the AP on condition of anonymity, said only one person was dizzy and vomiting, which are symptoms of radiation poisoning.
The missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday about 24 miles from where it had been stolen early Monday.
A cargo truck hauling the cobalt-60 was taken from a gas station in the central state of Hidalgo, where Pachuca is located. The material had been removed from obsolete radiation therapy equipment at a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana and was being transported to a nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City.
The UN atomic energy agency said the cobalt has an activity of 3,000 curies, or Category 1, meaning "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."
The Associated Press contributed to his article.