In a bizarre and developing story, the Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been held on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of a Swedish journalist and the sinking of the privately owned submarine UC3 Nautilus on Thursday off Denmark.
Madsen denies the charges and claims that he dropped off the female journalist, Kim Wall, 30, on Refshale Island on Thursday evening before the submarine sank suddenly sometime early Friday morning. Madsen has said that the submarine sank in roughly 30 seconds due to a problem with the ballast system. Madsen and the journalist are reported to be the only ones aboard the Nautilus when it sailed from Copenhagen Harbor around 7 PM on Thursday.
So far, the whereabouts of the Swedish journalist WAll is unknown. She was reported missing by her boyfriend on Friday. The submarine, which sank in waters seven meters deep, has not yet been raised or entered by divers.
Exactly what Madsen is being charged with is unclear. The Guardian reports that he has “arrested and is accused of having killed the Swedish woman without intent.” In the United States, this would be considered to be manslaughter. On the other hand, the sub’s Wikipedia page, quotes the Danish tabloid Ekstrabladet, that “police suspect that the submarine was scuttled to conceal or destroy evidence.”
UC3 Nautilus is a privately built Danish midget submarine. The sub is 58′ long and 40 with diesel electric propulsion, typically operated by a crew of 4-8. The Nautilus website describes it as “one of the world’s largest home-built submarines, launched on Saturday, May 3, 2008, in Copenhagen’s harbor. She was built by a group of submarine enthusiasts with Peter Madsen at the forefront, over a 3 year period, as a hobby project. Nautilus is the group’s 3rd submarine.” The Nautilus cost approximately $200,000 to build and was funded in part by crowdsourcing.