We Finally Know Why That Scientist In The Antarctic Stabbed His Colleague

The Soviet operated base as seen in Winter 2015. Akulovz/Wikimedia Commons

Nobody likes spoilers. Avoiding the Internet if you missed an episode of Game of Thrones is exhausting, being told the ending of a book we're reading makes us mad. But not usually enough to inspire attempted murder. Not, however, in Antarctica, where one Russian researcher stationed there allegedly stabbed his colleague after having been prematurely tipped off about one too many endings.

Earlier this month. Antarctica’s remote Bellingshausen Station reportedly became the scene of an alleged crime after 55-year-old electrical engineer Sergei Savitsky stabbed welder Oleg Beloguzov, 52, with a kitchen knife. The two had spent the last four years together at the Soviet station, but tensions had been mounting for the last several months. Earlier reports stated the tipping point came when the victim told Savitsky to dance for money on a table in the station’s canteen – a catalyst that allegedly sent him lunging with a knife.

In recent months, the two had taken to reading to pass the time. Now, British tabloid newspaper The Sun suggests Savitsky acted after having been pushed to his wits’ end with Beloguzov’s book spoilers. However, IFLScience has not been able to verify this account with any official government source. In fact, the whole account seems to have come from an unverified source to a Russian news agency, Interfax. The wounded man was flown to a medical facility in Chile with a knife injury to the heart. He is reportedly in the intensive care unit with non-life-threatening injuries.

As we previously reported, it’s believed Savitsky could have been suffering from acute mental health issues at the time of the event, after which he voluntarily surrendered himself to the station manager. According to AP, the Interfax news agency noted the incident occurred due to the “tensions in a confined space.” 

Despite the chance this rumor is fake, being so far from civilization can make people act strangely. Antarctica is rife with all the sensational misgivings that make us human; death, assault, and alcohol-infused drama. Who handles such issues? Under the Antarctic Treaty, workers accused of serious crimes at research bases are subject to the laws of their home country, reports the New York Times. Following an 11-day wait for a flight, Savitsky was deported to Russia where he is reportedly under house arrest. Other outlets report he admits to stabbing his colleague but insists he was not trying to kill him.

Bellingshausen Station is one of the first research facilities founded by Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1968. Located in the South Shetland Isles, temperatures here average around -2.3°C (27.9°F), rarely going above 1.5°C (34.7°F). The station, which has a normal population of about 25 researchers, gained a reputation as being a trading post, swapping pins, flags, and clothing.  

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