Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Danish submarine sub owner accused over journalist's death

Danish submarine sub owner accused over journalist's death

The 40 tonne ship, named the UC3 Nautilus, was one of three that the entrepreneur had built.

According to a statement Wall's family shared with CPJ today, the 30-year-old Swedish-born journalist, who was based in NY and Beijing, was working on a story about inventor Peter Madsen when she went missing.

Before the submarine's relaunch, Madsen had been locked in a fierce ownership dispute with a board representing the group of volunteers who helped him build it.

Peter Madsen faces manslaughter charges over the disappearance of the female journalist.

Prosecutor Louise Pedersen told a packed courtroom today Madsen faces the preliminary charges "for having killed in an unknown way and in an unknown place Kim Isabell Frerika Wall of Sweden sometime after Thursday 5 p.m".

Madsen said "a minor problem with a ballast tank" - a compartment that holds water to provide stability - "turned into a major issue" that ultimately caused the submarine to sink.

The submarine is lying in 7ft of water, but divers have not been able to enter it safely yet, police said.

Madsen says he dropped her off before the sinking. "But I guess that was pretty good, because I otherwise still would have been down there".

However, when she failed to return home later that day, her anxious boyfriend contacted the authorities, which led to a full-scale search for the submarine in the early hours.

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"He told us that the journalist who also had been on board had been dropped off Thursday evening", navy spokesman Anders Damgaard said.

"My client denies the allegations", Betina Engmark, lawyer for 46-year-old inventor Peter Madsen told AFP, adding that he was "hurt" to be suspected of involvement in her death.

According to the Copenhagen Post, a search of the vessel is likely to be carried out once it has been towed to port later on Saturday.

Madsen's company RML Spacelab is seeking to send people into space and is developing a rocket, floating launch pad and astronaut testing machine, its website says.

"The undersea world is close, it's lovely, always just around the corner in Denmark".

The vessel was recovered on Saturday in Koge Bay, south of Copenhagen, at a depth of seven metres, and taken into harbour.

"A radio contact was established for the boat, which, according to the owner, was heading towards the harbor", the police statement said.

Half an hour later "the submarine suddenly sank and the owner was subsequently rescued on a private motorboat".

"So far it hasn't been possible to see what there is inside the submarine", it said.

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