Antarctica - Rodney Marks, 32, poisoning/possible murder, South Pole Station, 12 May 2000

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Grifynne, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Grifynne

    Grifynne Active Member

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    28 death.pdf

    The death in 2000 of a young Australian astrophysicist at the U.S. South Pole station raised many troubling questions. Eight years later, there are few answers

    On the last day of his life, Rodney Marks woke up vomiting blood. The 32-year-old postdoc was wintering over at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where he was operating AST/RO (Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory) for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Over the next 10 hours, Marks made three trips to see Robert Thompson, the station’s doctor, becoming increasingly anxious, disoriented, short of breath, and pained. Then he went into cardiac arrest. After attempting to resuscitate Marks, Thompson pronounced him dead at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, 12 May 2000.

    Mystery of poisoning in Antarctic deepens as suicide is ruled out

    In a few weeks coroner Richard McElrea, based in Christchurch, New Zealand, will produce a report that may resolve one of the strangest, and most baffling, deaths in the southern hemisphere: the poisoning of astrophysicist Rodney Marks at the South Pole.

    The Australian scientist died, after 36 hours of severe illness, on 11 May 2000, and was found to have been the victim of methanol poisoning. Since then New Zealand police have struggled to discover how the poison, a solvent used as a cleaning agent, was administered.

    The case has remained shrouded in mystery and controversy - for only 13 of the 49 staff, most of them Americans, at the Scott-Amundsen research station have co-operated in the inquiry. And at the inquest into Marks's death, finally held last month, chief investigator Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Wormald revealed it was 'most unlikely' that the scientist had 'knowingly' ingested the methanol that killed him.

    Rodney Marks was walking from a research building to the main base at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station when he started to feel strange. This wasn't the normal weirdness people deal with when adjusting to the -80°F temperatures and 24-hour nights of Antarctic winters. The 32-year-old astrophysicist was struggling to breathe. Soon, his vision became weak. He was also very tired and went to bed early, hoping to sleep off whatever mysterious sickness was plaguing him.

    But sleep didn't help. Instead, things just got worse—much worse. At 5:30 a.m. the morning of May 12, 2000, Marks woke up vomiting blood. He went to the station's doctor, Robert Thompson, three times over the course of the day, and with each visit, his symptoms appeared to grow more excruciating. Pain burned through his joints and stomach. His eyes were so sensitive that he had to wear sunglasses even though the sun hadn't risen over the base in several weeks. As his physical condition deteriorated, so did his mental state: He became so agitated that the doctor wondered if anxiety wasn't the cause of his symptoms.

    When Marks visited the physician the third time that day, he was distressed to the point of hyperventilation. Thompson injected him with an antipsychotic to calm him down. Marks laid back and his breathing slowed. To the untrained observer, it may have looked as though he was getting better.

    But that's not what was happening. Shortly after receiving the shot, Marks went into cardiac arrest, and after 45 minutes of unsuccessful resuscitation attempts, Thompson declared him dead at 6:45 p.m.

    As soon as the fight to save his life ended, the 49 people living at the base were faced with a new problem: a dead body in one of the most remote places on earth, at a time of year when it was too cold for planes to land. It would be months before an aircraft was able to collect Marks's remains—and years before it was revealed that there was a chance he had been murdered.

  2. BethAnn777

    BethAnn777 Not Well-Known, just the way I like it

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  3. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    Wow. 36 people who won't co-operate? What are they hiding?
  4. realanastasia

    realanastasia Well-Known Member

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  5. HMSHood

    HMSHood Admiral-Class Battlecruiser

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    A crime in the South Pole. Very intriguing.
    realanastasia likes this.

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