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DSHS notifies public of missing radiographic camera in Gillespie County

Last updated on May 31, 2020

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The Texas Department of State Health Services is notifying the public of a missing radiographic camera, an industrial device that contains radioactive material. The material is sealed within multiple layers of protection, and the risk of exposure is very low.

The camera, owned by Shawcor and commonly used in the oil and gas industry, went missing when a truck with a slide-in camper containing a mobile darkroom was swept away in the floodwaters of the Pedernales River southeast of Fredericksburg. The camper was located about 10 miles downstream, but the camera was not inside. The company is actively searching for the camera with support from DSHS and local authorities.

This type of radioactive source is called a “sealed source” because the radioactive material is sealed inside a capsule, which is in turn sealed inside the camera with protective shielding and other safety features. The entire camera is stored in a locked half-inch-thick steel overpack box with radiation markings. Levels of radiation outside the camera, itself, are not dangerous.

Photos of the camera and an overpack box are linked below. If someone finds the box, they should not try to open it and should contact local law enforcement, Gillespie County Emergency Management at 830-998-7252, or the DSHS 24-hour phone line at 512-458-7460.

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