Famed Inventor Says He Buried Reporter ‘At Sea’ After His Homemade Sub Sank


When the UC3 Nautilus sailed from the Port of Copenhagen on the evening of Aug. 10, the homemade submarine bore just two people: its famed Danish inventor (Peter Madsen) and the Swedish journalist (Kim Wall) reporting on his invention.

Less than a day later, only one of them was still alive.

Kim Wall boarded Peter Madsen’s submarine Nautilus on 10 August, and then disappeared (Ritzau Foto)


Peter Madsen’s submarine sank midday Aug. 11; he was rescued by a private boat, but journalist Kim Wall was nowhere to be found. It was Wall’s boyfriend who reported her missing, and authorities wasted no time in arresting the 46-year-old Madsen after he came ashore, charging him that same day with manslaughter and arranging his first court appearance for the following day, a Saturday.

Home Made Nautilus Submarine Youtube Video


Mr Madsen, 46, claims that he left her body somewhere in Koge Bay, south of Copenhagen, the police said. A search effort involving divers, helicopters and ships has been under way along the identified route since Friday.

UPDATE: On Monday, a female torso was discovered in the waters near the southwestern side of Copenhagen’s Amager island by a passing cyclist. The police said the torso was missing its arms, legs and head “as a result of deliberate cutting.” On Wednesday, they confirmed that it matched Wall’s DNA.

Swedish journalist Kim Wall posed for this 2015 portrait in Trelleborg. After more than a week of questions, a statement released Monday acknowledged Wall died aboard Danish inventor Peter Madsen’s submarine. Madsen, who is now being held on a manslaughter charge, says he subsequently “buried her at sea,” according to the statement. Tom Wall/AP


Initially he told authorities he had dropped off his 30-year-old companion back in Copenhagen. Now, according to a statement released Monday by Copenhagen police at the behest of the defense and the prosecutor’s office, Madsen has recanted that story.

“The defendant has explained to the police and the Court, that there was an accident on board which caused Kim Wall’s death,” police say in the statement, “and that he consequently buried her at sea at a non-defined location in the Bay of Køge.”

Nautilus Submarine First Dive

Authorities said the manslaughter charge still stands, even as they probed the waters around Copenhagen for any sign of Wall’s body. Danish and Swedish maritime authorities have recovered the 60-foot-long submarine and have since begun forensic work to seek some answers. But they note their days-long search for Wall has so far proved fruitless, despite the deployment of a number of vessels, divers and helicopters.

They offered no further details but noted that the investigation “is being conducted behind closed doors.” Through his attorney, Madsen has denied the allegations.

Madsen was spotted leaping from the Nautilus into a bay as the submarine began to sink.

He was rescued, and first told police that he dropped Wall off at the harbor the previous evening, as planned — and had barely escaped his ship after the ballast tank malfunctioned.

“I couldn’t close any hatches or anything,” Madsen told a Danish television station.

But a witness contradicted this. He told reporters that he saw Madsen go down into the belly of the vessel, then calmly emerge and stay in the submarine’s tower until water began pouring into it.

Only then did Madsen swim to a nearby boat, the witness said.

“There was no panic at all,” he told a Danish outlet. “The man was absolutely calm.”

Copenhagen police arrested Madsen on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after the sinking, according to a police news release, and accused him of deliberately wrecking the submarine.

Investigators found blood in the vessel when they lifted it from the bottom of the bay, according to the Associated Press.

“There is nobody on board — neither dead nor alive,” Copenhagen’s homicide chief told reporters at the time, and claimed the vessel had been intentionally sunk.

Madsen was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, and ordered to he be held for 24 days while police investigated.

He denied the charge, but his story has since changed almost entirely, according to police.

On Monday, investigators announced that he’d admitted Wall died on board and he disposed of her body — though a police statement did not specify what “accident” Madsen claimed killed her, or explain how the submarine sank.

That same day, according to CNN, a cyclist found a female body — armless, legless and headless — washed up on a shore near the submarine’s route.

The body “washed ashore after having been at sea for a while,” Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moeller Jenson told reporters, according to the AP.

Police were able to match DNA from the torso to Wall’s toothbrush and hairbrush, along with blood in the submarine.

The cause of the journalist’s death is not yet known.

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