Australian Authorities Search for Lost Radioactive Capsule that Fell Off a Mining Truck

Multinational mining giant Rio Tinto has apologized after it lost a radioactive, pea sized capsule on a 870 mile stretch of highway in Western Australia.

The company reported that a 0.3×0.2 inch capsule of Caesium-137, which is used in mining gauges, fell off of a company truck on January 16, but failed to report it to local authorities until January 25. The Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services said they are actively combing the area using radiation detectors to find the capsule.

While the capsule does not pose a threat to the greater public, officials warned people not touch it, as it could cause radiation burns. Prolonged exposure can cause radiation sickness, as well as increase chances of cancer, which officials fear would happen if someone finds it and mistakenly keeps it or if it accidentally gets imbedded in a car tire.