Inventor charged over mystery disappearance of journalist from his sunken submarine




A Danish submarine inventor has been charged over the disappearance of a Swedish journalist who was with him on his vessel before it mysteriously sank near Copenhagen.

Peter Madsen, a 46-year-old entrepreneur, had invited Kim Wall, a 30-year-old freelance journalist, to join him on what was supposed to be a short voyage aboard his private submarine Nautilus.

When the submarine did not return as scheduled on Friday morning, Miss Wall's boyfriend raised the alarm and a major naval search was launched to find the vessel.

Rescuers found Mr Madsen standing in the tower of the sunken Nautilus but there was no sign of Miss Wall.

The inventor said he had dropped her on an island in Copenhagen's harbour on Thursday evening but her family said she had disappeared.

Danish police later arrested Mr Madsen on suspicion of her death.

He appeared in court on Saturday, where prosecutors accused him of killing Miss Wall "in an unknown way and in an unknown place" sometime after 5pm on Thursday.

Mr Madsen denies the charges and smiled in the courtroom as he talked with his defence lawyer.

Nautilus, believed to be the world's largest privately owned submarine, is lying in shallow waters of Denmark's east coast but police divers have not yet been able to enter it.

Danish police suspect that Mr Madsen may have deliberately sank the Nautilus to conceal evidence of Miss Wall's death, according to Ekstra Bladet, a Danish newspaper

The journalist was born in Sweden and studied at the London School of Economics, Columbia University in New York and the Sorbonne in Paris.

She divided her time between New York and Beijing and had written for the New York Times, Time Magazine and the Guardian.

Mr Madsen appeared calm during an interview with Danish television shortly after the submarine sank, saying: "I am fine, but sad because Nautilus went down."

He said there had been a problem with a ballast tank that "turned into a major issue".

Nautilus, named after the ship from the classic science fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, was built by Mr Madsen after raising $200,000 (£154,000) online.

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