Chaotic search over after radioactive capsule found on side of WA road

Investing

An extremely dangerous radioactive capsule that went missing in remote Western Australia has been found on the side of a road after days of frantic searching.

The missing capsule has been tracked down. Image: Paul Kane via Getty Images

Rio Tinto’s iron ore division chief, Simon Trott, issued a statement on behalf of the mining company on Monday, placing blame on an independent contractor who was hired by Rio Tinto.

“We are taking this incident very seriously. We recognise this is clearly very concerning and are sorry for the alarm it has caused in the Western Australian community,” Trott says.

“Rio Tinto engaged a third-party contractor, with appropriate expertise and certification, to safely package the device in preparation for transport off-site ahead of receipt at their facility in Perth.

“As part of this investigation we are working closely with the contractor to better understand what went wrong in this instance.”

WA government officials have since confirmed the missing capsule has been located, in what has been described as a “needle in haystack” moment.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson emphasises just how remarkable the feat was.

“This is an extraordinary result… they have quite literally found the needle in the haystack,” he told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

The capsule will now be stored in a lead container and transferred to a secure location in Newman and eventually a Perth health facility.

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