Man whose vessel sunk off coast of Denmark denies killing missing journalist and claims he dropped her off on an island
An amateur submarine maker whose vessel sank off the Danish coast has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a Swedish journalist who joined him for the voyage was reported missing.
Peter Madsen, 46, denies killing the missing woman, claiming he dropped her off on an island about three and a half hours into their trip on Thursday night, according to Copenhagen police.
The only people on board were Madsen and the journalist, whose partner alerted authorities to her absence on Thursday evening. The owner of the submarine was arrested and is accused of having killed the Swedish woman without intent, they said in a statement. He denies the allegations and explains that he left the woman on the end of the Refshaleen island.
Madsen, from Denmark, made headlines when he successfully financed the building of the submarine through crowdfunding, completing the UC3 Nautilus in 2008. Madsen appeared on Danish television on Friday to discuss the submarines sinking and his rescue.
Footage aired on Denmarks 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 sinking of the vessel, which was considered to be the largest privately built submarine of its kind. The ballast tank is a compartment that holds water to provide stability for a vessel.
It took about 30 seconds for Nautilus to sink, and I couldnt 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 on Thursday evening, navy spokesman Anders Damgaard told Associated Press. They were the only two on board yesterday.
The womans boyfriend alerted authorities that the submarine was missing early on Friday. Two helicopters and three ships searched the sea from Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.
The navy initially said the craft was found sailing south of Copenhagen. But Damgaard later said the 40 tonne submarine, which is nearly 18 metres long, had sunk.
Madsen told us he had technical problems to explain why the submarine failed to respond to radio contact, Damgaard said.
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