Danish sub inventor held over missing journalist

A Danish judge remanded into temporary custody Saturday a Danish inventor accused of manslaughter over a missing Swedish journalist, who was on board a submarine he built which sank.

Madsen (right), talking to police, was ordered to be held in custody for a period of 24 hours, which could be renewed
Madsen (right), talking to police, was ordered to be held in custody for a period of 24 hours, which could be renewed (Scanpix Denmark/AFP)

A Danish judge remanded into temporary custody Saturday a Danish inventor accused of manslaughter over a missing Swedish journalist, who was on board a submarine he built which sank.

"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.

He was ordered to be held in custody for a period of 24 hours, which could be renewed.

Press reports named the Swedish journalist as Kim Wall, 30, who was writing a feature story about the inventor. Nothing has been heard from her since Thursday evening.

The 'Nautilus' submarine, which was being towed back to Copenhagen on Saturday
The 'Nautilus' submarine, which was being towed back to Copenhagen on Saturday (Scanpix Denmark/AFP)

Madsen had wanted to launch himself into the space race before building his submarine the Nautilus, the biggest privately-made one ever when he made it in 2008.

Early Friday, Danish authorities announced they were looking for the Nautilus, which had been reported the previous evening in the Oresund strait between Denmark and Sweden, with two people.

The vessel was then located in a bay in Køge, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Danish capital, where the submarine had suddenly sunk shortly before midday Friday.

Its owner Madsen was rescued shortly before, but there was no sign of the Swedish journalist. Police immediately launched a search, then arrested Madsen on suspicion of manslaughter.

A handout photo shows Swedish journalist Kim Wall who was allegedly on board the submarine before it sank on Thursday
A handout photo shows Swedish journalist Kim Wall who was allegedly on board the submarine before it sank on Thursday (TT News Agency/AFP)

By late Saturday the Nautilus had been recovered and was being towed back to Copenhagen. It was expected to arrive in the Danish capital by the end of the evening, said a police statement.

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

It appealed for witnesses who might have seen Wall on Thursday after 1900 GMT. Madsen said he had left her on the end of the Refshaleøen island at around 2030 GMT, according to police.