A researcher at a remote Russian Antarctic station has reportedly stabbed and injured a colleague after suffering an emotional breakdown.
The Interfax news agency said the incident occurred on 9 October at the canteen in the Bellingshausen Station. It added that the injured researcher has been taken to a hospital in Chile.
There has been no immediate comment from the Russian authorities on the incident, which occurred at an outpost in one of the darkest, most inhospitable places on earth, where temperatures can easily plummet to -30C.
Interfax said the assailant later voluntarily surrendered to the chief of the station and was placed under house arrest. The agency noted that the incident resulted from “tensions in a confined space.”
According to the Lonely Planet, the station has a maximum capacity of 40 and a winter population of 13. Wildlife native to the area includes Chinstrap Penguins, Adelie Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Southern Giant Petrels and Antarctic Terns.
The Bellingshausen station was founded by the Soviet Union in 1968 and is named for the 19th-century Russian explorer of the Antarctic.
It is located in Collins Harbour on King George Island, which is also the location of Trinity Church, the only permanently staffed Eastern Orthodox church in Antarctica.
In 2016, head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill became the first head of the Russian church to visit the continent. He held a communion at the church after accepting an invitation from Russian polar explorers.
Kirill was pictured on the island’s desolate shore alongside a brood of penguins. The Patriarch is said to have knelt to greet one bird, asking it: “What, little one? What’s troubling you?”