Three lumberjacks were seriously hurt when they were exposed to two cylinders containing sources of strontium-90. The incident took place about 25km outside the village of Lia in the Tsalendzhikhi district, about 200km northwest of the capital Tbilisi.

On 22 December, 2001, the victims were transferred to the hospital at Zugdidi, where radiological burns to the hands, back and legs were identified as well as clinical signs of overall radiation. Each individual had received a dose of about 2 to 3 Grays of overall radiation and approximately 10 Grays of local radiation.

The containers are believed to have been used in signal beacons during the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant 30 years ago.