Pri­vate sub­ma­rine sinks; owner held on sus­pi­cion of mur­der

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS - JAN M. OLSEN

COPENHAGEN — the owner of an am­a­teur-built sub­ma­rine was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der Fri­day af­ter his ves­sel sank in den­mark’s wa­ters and a jour­nal­ist who had joined him for what was sup­posed to be a short voy­age was re­ported miss­ing, Copenhagen po­lice said.

Po­lice said in a state­ment Fri­day night that the man de­nied killing the miss­ing woman and said he dropped her off on an is­land about 3.5 hours into their thurs­day night trip.

the state­ment did not iden­tify the sub­ma­rine’s owner, Peter Mad­sen, 46, but his suc­cess fi­nanc­ing his sub­ma­rine project through crowd­fund­ing and com­plet­ing the uC3 Nau­tilus in 2008 made head­lines.

Mad­sen ap­peared on dan­ish tele­vi­sion Fri­day to dis­cuss the sub­ma­rine’s sink­ing and his res­cue.

Footage aired on den­mark’s tV2 chan­nel showed him get­ting off what ap­peared to be a pri­vate boat and mak­ing a thumbs-up sign as he walked away.

“I am fine, but sad be­cause Nau­tilus went down,” he told tV2.

Mad­sen said “a mi­nor prob­lem with a bal­last tank ... turned into a ma­jor is­sue” that ul­ti­mately caused the ves­sel — con­sid­ered the largest pri­vately built sub­ma­rine of its kind — to sink.

the bal­last tank is a com­part­ment that holds wa­ter, which is used as bal­last to pro­vide sta­bil­ity for a ves­sel.

“It took about 30 sec­onds for Nau­tilus to sink, and I couldn’t close any hatches or any­thing,” Mad­sen said. “But, I guess that was pretty good be­cause I oth­er­wise still would have been down there.”

how­ever, Swedish po­lice said later in the day they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the where­abouts of a miss­ing woman who had been on the sub­ma­rine at some point.

“Whether the woman was on board the sub­ma­rine at the time of her dis­ap­pear­ance is un­clear,” po­lice said in a state­ment.

the woman was a jour­nal­ist writ­ing about Mad­sen and his sub­ma­rine, Swedish and dan­ish me­dia re­ported.

“he told us that the jour­nal­ist who also had been on board had been dropped off thurs­day evening,” navy spokesman an­ders damgaard told the as­so­ci­ated Press. “they were the only two on board yes­ter­day.”

It was the woman’s boyfriend who alerted author­i­ties the sub­ma­rine was miss­ing early Fri­day. two heli­copters and three ships combed the sea from Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea is­land of Born­holm.

the navy ini­tially said the sub was “found sail­ing” south of Copenhagen. But, damgaard later said the 40-ton, nearly 18-me­ter-long (60-foot-long) sub­ma­rine had sunk.

Mad­sen “told us he had tech­ni­cal prob­lems” to ex­plain why the sub­ma­rine failed to re­spond to radio con­tact, damgaard said.

NIELS HOUGAARD/RITZAU

In this April 30, 2008 file photo, sub­ma­rine owner Peter Mad­sen­stands in­side the ves­sel. Den­mark’s navy says that Mad­sen’s pri­vately built sub­ma­rine that had been feared miss­ing in Dan­ish wa­ters has been found and the crew is safe. The navy says that the 40-ton, nearly 18-me­ter-long sub­ma­rine with at least two peo­ple on board had been “found sail­ing” south of Copenhagen.

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