A Danish inventor and owner of a huge DIY submarine is accused of manslaughter after the disappearance of a female journalist who had been on board before it sank, police said late on Friday.
Peter Madsen denies killing the Swedish woman, saying he last saw her when he dropped her off on the tip of an island in Copenhagen on Thursday.
Danish authorities announced early on Friday they were looking for the Nautilus sub, reported to have gone missing the night before in Oresund straight between Denmark and Sweden.
The vessel — the biggest privately-made sub ever made when built in 2008 — was located in a bay in Køge, some 50 kilometres from the Danish capital, where the submarine had suddenly sunk shortly before midday.
On board were Madsen and a Swedish journalist, whose partner had alerted authorities to her absence on Thursday evening, Copenhagen police said in a statement.
Madsen was rescued, but there was no trace of the woman. Police immediately launched a search.
“The owner of the submarine was arrested and is accused of having killed the Swedish woman without intent,” the police statement said. “He denies the allegations and explains that he left the woman on the end of the Refshaleøen island” at around 10:30pm, he said.
The Nautilus was first launched in 2008, and was the world’s largest privately built submarine. It’s had some trouble along the way but was back in action this year.
Madsen is an eccentric man who helped build the Nautilus with a group of volunteers over the course of three years. Launched in May 2008, it performed smoothly for several years before being grounded in 2011. Repairs and maintainance were needed and following a crowdfunding campaign, it re-launched in April this year.