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Submarine inventor Peter Madsen charged in disappearance of journalist Kim Wall

Copenhagen: Did a Danish submarine inventor kill his only passenger, a Swedish journalist who had accompanied him onboard for a story?

The question is making headlines in Denmark and Sweden.

The inventor, Peter Madsen, an amateur space rocket and submarine builder known as "Rocket Madsen", was arrested and jailed on charges of involuntary manslaughter, according to the local media, even though the journalist, Kim Wall, 30, remains missing.

On Saturday, Madsen, 46, appeared before a judge, but the prosecution did not say how, where or why Wall was killed. The defendant denied any wrongdoing.

Wall, a freelance journalist, vanished on Thursday, after leaving the port of Copenhagen on the UC3 Nautilus, a submarine built and operated by Madsen.

As the vessel left Copenhagen, a passer-by happened to take a photograph showing Wall smiling from the submarine's tower, according to the local media. She has not been seen or heard from since. Her body has not been recovered, either.

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Early on Friday, her boyfriend reported her missing, and a search-and-rescue operation quickly found the vessel in a bay south of Copenhagen. The eight-metre submarine sank as Madsen jumped into the water and swam towards a rescue boat, a rescuer said.

As he was brought to shore, Madsen told the local television station TV2 that he had been on a test drive when he ran into problems with a valve on a ballast tank on the vessel.

"I was toying with various things on the submarine and then an error occurred," he said, adding that he had only 30 seconds to leave the vessel before it sank.

According to a police statement, Madsen said he dropped off Wall in a remote part of the port of Copenhagen around 10:30 pm and continued alone.

A family statement sent by Tom Wall, Kim Wall's brother, said she had been with Madsen for an interview when she vanished. "We sincerely hope that she will be found and that she is well," the statement said.

Kim Wall is a graduate of Columbia University, and her work has appeared in international publications including The New York Times.

The New York Times