Authorities in Denmark are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a freelance journalist after she boarded a submarine that they believe was sunk on purpose by the “inventrepreneur” who built it.
Kim Wall, 30, boarded the UC3 Nautilus in Copenhagen late Thursday because she was writing a feature article on Peter Madsen (above), who is well known in Denmark for using crowdfunding to build subs and rockets.
When the 60-foot-long sub did not return to Copenhagen as expected — and Wall failed to return home — Danish police launched an investigation.
They found the Nautilus in a bay in Koge on Friday. Madsen was rescued, but the sub quickly sank in around 22 feet of water.
Madsen, 46, told police that he had dropped Wall off at the mouth of Copenhagen harbor late on Thursday night after their interview ended. He told local media that his craft had encountered a problem with its ballast tank.
But police have stated that they believe the sinking of the submarine was a “deliberate act” and charged Madsen with negligent manslaughter. “The investigations confirm that the sinking of the submarine was allegedly a consequence of a deliberate act,” Copenhagen police stated. Authorities have also reportedly claimed that Madsen has changed his story.
Madsen’s lawyer, Betina hald Engmark, has denied the charges. She told Denmark’s TV2 that Madsen would remain in custody for up to 24 days while Danish police continue their investigation into Wall’s presumed death.
Danish military aircraft have joined search-and-rescue helicopters, ships, and divers in the search for Wall, and Copenhagen police are continuing the search on land.
A woman named Krisitan Isbak who answered a call from authorities to help in the search told Danish media that she saw the submarine, and Madsen. When Madsen came up, and the submarine starting sinking, Isbak said: “There was no panic at all. The man was absolutely calm.”
The sub was towed to the Copenhagen port, where the water was drained out. When police entered the sub on Sunday, it was empty.
Wall, who was based in New York and China, graduated from Columbia with a master’s degrees in journalism and international affairs. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and has reported from far-flung destinations including North Korea and Sri Lanka. She has written articles for the New York Times and the Guardian.
The investigation continues.
Main photo: Peter Madsen aboard the Nautilus submarine [DailyMail.com via Copenhagen Suborbitals / YouTube (screenshot)