A Russian scientist stationed in a remote part of Antarctica is accused of stabbing his colleague — because the victim kept spoiling the ending of books that the suspect was reading.
Authorities say 55-year-old Sergey Savitsky and 52-year-old Oleg Beloguzov were stationed together at a research station on King George Island, which is part of the country of Chile. A report from the Mirror noted that Savitsky occupied his time in the inhospitable climate by reading books, but Beloguzov kept telling him how the books ended.
Savitsky eventually had enough, and authorities say that he stabbed his colleague in the heart with a kitchen knife. The victim survived the attack and was airlifted to a hospital in Chile after the fact for treatment.
Russian news agency Interfax, via Business Insider, reported that Savitsky voluntarily surrendered to his station manager after the stabbing.
As Russian officials noted, the men had been together as part of a team that spent long stretches on the island.
“They are both professional scientists who have been working in our expeditions, spending yearlong seasons at the station,” Alexander Klepikov, the deputy director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, told the Mirror. “It is down to investigators to figure out what sparked the conflict, but both men are members of our team.”
King George Island is home to research stations from nearly a dozen different countries, with scientists stationed there studying the biology and ecology of the island. There is a permanent village nearby, boasting a number of amenities including a post office, and cafeteria. There are even small homes that allow for the permanently placed staffers to live together with their families. There is also a Russian orthodox church present, with a priest stationed there year-round. Altogether, the population of the entire island is close to 500 people.
The island also gained fame in 2013, when Coca-Cola sponsored a concert at the airport by the heavy metal band Metallica. As Rolling Stone noted, the concert meant that Metallica was the first band in history to have played on all seven continents.
As the Daily Mail noted, the island is one of the few parts of Antarctica with a tundra climate rather than a permanent ice cap, which gives researchers the opportunity to study local wildlife — including a number of species of seal that have made the island their home.
While authorities have not said exactly how the stabbing took place, the Daily Mail reported that alcohol may have been involved. Authorities said that this is the first time that anyone has ever been charged with attempted murder in Antarctica.