Danish sub inventor jailed
Writer is said to have joined owner aboard vessel, which sank
Peter Madsen, whose 60-foot-long submarine sank off the coast of Denmark, has been jailed in the disappearance of a woman who was his passenger.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Did a Danish submarine inventor kill his only passenger, a Swedish journalist who had accompanied him onboard for a story?
The question is gripping the public’s imagination and making headlines in Denmark and Sweden.
The inventor, Peter Madsen, an amateur space rocket and submarine builder known here as “Rocket Madsen,” has been jailed on charges of involuntary manslaughter, according to the local media, even though the journalist, Kim Wall, 30, remains missing.
On Saturday, Madsen, 46, appeared before a judge, but the prosecution did not say how, where or why Wall was killed. The defendant denied any wrongdoing.
The court ordered Madsen held in pretrial detention for 24 days while police investigate Wall’s disappearance.
Wall, a freelance journalist, vanished Thursday after leaving the port of Copenhagen on the UC3 Nautilus, a 40-ton, 60-foot-long submarine built and operated by Madsen.
As the vessel left Copenhagen, a passer-by happened to take a photograph showing Wall smiling from the submarine’s tower, according to the local media. She has not been seen or heard from since. Her body has not been recovered, either.
Early Friday, her boyfriend reported her missing, and a search-and-rescue operation quickly found the vessel in a bay south of Copenhagen. The submarine sank just as Madsen jumped into the water and swam toward a rescue boat, a rescuer said.
As he was brought to shore, Madsen told the local television station TV2 that he had been on a test drive when he ran into problems with a valve on a ballast tank on the vessel.
“I was toying with various things on the submarine and then an error occurred,” he said, adding that he had only 30 seconds to leave the vessel before it sank.
According to a police statement, Madsen said he dropped off Wall in a remote part of the port of Copenhagen around 10.30 p.m. and continued alone.
A family statement sent by Tom Wall, Kim Wall’s brother, said she had been with Madsen for an interview when she vanished. “We sincerely hope that she will be found and that she is well,” the statement said.
Kim Wall is a graduate of Columbia University, and her work has appeared in a wide range of international publications.
On Saturday, authorities raised the vessel from a depth of 22 feet and started taking it to shore. Divers were unable to enter the submarine.
For years Madsen has led a community of amateurs in Copenhagen working to launch the world’s first manned amateur space rocket. Other members of the community successfully launched an unmanned rocket 1.7 miles into the air in 2011.
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