A scientist who worked with various kind of non-drinkable alcohols died by methanol overdose and this was only found out and investigated much later, with no real conclusion made beyond the assumption that he probably didn't poison himself; but a bottle of liquor he had and emptied maybe, possibly might've been spiked with methanol and he could've died from that. No actual facts are known though, and nobody who might have access to any facts cares to talk to the person doing the investigating.
I'm not surprised how it went at all though, having had some experience on a French polar base I'm quite sure it would have been exactly the same, maybe with a bit more secrecy. I think it's fine.
Good summary. I really dislike long articles that very slowly dribble out information.
However, I did read the article, because it's not IMO "extreme fluff". It paints a picture of life in winter at the south pole. Extreme isolation means people behave differently than elsewhere on earth.
They were operating a still, and had everyone from PhDs to carpenters there, and nobody thought of methanol poisoning? The ultimate irony is, of course, that the antidote to methanol poisoning is ethanol, aka regular potable alcohol, of which they had a great deal.
Final point, these guys are going to the bottom of the world. We can't give them specialized alcohols (to say nothing of a spare Li-ion battery)? There are some alcohols that are similar in effect to ethanol, but a lot less toxic, more easily transportable, etc. Sure, they're not common, but neither is a base deep in Antarctica.
and years later killed himself after being rejected for another term there:
More recent experience, written by another past worker: