Murder aboard a home-made sub


Man, just when I thought life could not get any weirder…

So, this morning I started my day as usual with a cup of coffee and pulled up my saved Google News search to update my website’s World Naval News section; and there on the first like was a news story about my friend Danish Peter Madsen and his private submarine, UC-3 Nautilus.

Oh man, what happened? I was glad he was ok, but sad he lost the sub. See, back in 2008 I hosted a convention in Copenhagen for submarine nerds like me and diving on the Nautilus was the feature event. It was a thrill, and very cool.


I was able to man the lookout as we navigated the harbor, and close the hatch when we dived to the bottom. That experience was worth a million lines of code and review writing.

I enjoyed meeting Peter and he was so thoughtful, he posted the name of our website across the sail of his sub.

Then about 4 hours later this morning, I my phone started ringing like a slot machine from text messages, Skype, FB messages, etc New developments like a bad dream. Peter has been charged with murder.

Man Charged With Killing Missing Journalist After Crowdfunded Sub Sinks [Updated]

On Friday, the UC3 Nautilus, a famous DIY submarine, sank off the coast of Denmark. Its owner, Peter Madsen, was later rescued and claimed he’d had technical difficulties. Copenhagen police now say that they’ve charged Madsen with killing a Swedish woman who was last seen with him on board the submarine.

What the hell? It seems Peter did have the lady aboard the sub but he claims he dropped her off on an island. So he has a story and it remains to be seen if the facts support it, but he is definitely in a bind now.

Speculation is plentiful. I’m guessing if the police charge him with murder (one Danish friend says the charge is more akin to manslaughter) then he must have made conflicting statements. We can assume there is a lot that remains to be learned; will the woman turn up somewhere? Did anyone see a home-made submarine dock and let a woman off? What kind of “island” are we talking about? A bird sanctuary deserted island or another section of land with roads, people, and businesses? What will the police find when they bring the sub up? One thing seems likely, if Peter claims the lady was ok and he let her off the sub, and she turns up dead, then probably there’s no way he can claim anything was an accident.

Ok, just wow.



Like, whaaaaaaaat?

Edit: The Gizmodo story says Madsen claims he dropped the reporter off in Copenhagen?


Yeah, this article has more details about the island
"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 10:30 pm, he said.



So how deep was the water it sank in? Can they send a submersible or divers down to see if there is a body?


Police say that the submarine was found by divers but will need to be hauled to shore before they can enter. It was found on the seabed in Koge Bay, seven meters below the surface.


This whole thing is weird as heck.


Okay. You win EE. Well done.


They never dived Nautilus in deep water, when we dived it was 25 feet or so. The reason they cannot get a diver in her (I believe) is the size of the hatches. I seriously do not think it is safe for a diver to try to get down the hatch in the sail, it is about 7 feet from top to the hull opening and really tight. I could barely fit, although I’m pretty big, I did not have tanks on. There was a fore hatch, but it would still be dangerous to try and enter submerged.


No offense intended Neal, since you knew an involved party, but I really love these kinds of mysteries.


No offense taken, that’s human nature.

Freaking hard to believe anything bad has happened, but one Danish SS member says
"According to the sailor who rescued Peter Madsen – he found the sub after just an hour’s search – the sub was afloat until he approached it. Madsen was on the conning tower. When the boat drew nearer, Madsen went below, the sub began sinking quickly, Madsen returned to the conning tower and jumped in the water. Very calmly.

Madsen claims he dropped the journalist off at a restaurant in Copenhagen harbor. The owner of the restaurant says, though, the restaurant was closed at the time of the drop off. However, he has security tapes from all around the restaurant, and he voluntarily gave them to the police.

The coast guard knows the position of the sub and are preparing to bring it in. It sank in seven meters of water."

Keep in kind mind those comments are not confirmed from any posted sources that I know of, I think he is getting that from Danish news (big story there).

Here are some pics from our time aboard the sub.


This read like it was a thoughtful set up. Doesn’t look good for him, honestly.


Really does sound like the beginning of another twisty Skandi Noir story.


Friends & family of the missing journalist have started searching for her on social media, her name is Kim Wall.

The sub was raised by the coast guard/police, no body aboard.


The BBC are reporting that the Danish police say that Madsen has changed his story and that they believe the sub was deliberately sunk.


Wow, this is fascinating.

Giles, ever read And the Sea Will Tell? It’s so good and this sub case immediately reminded me of it.


Yes, the first people to come upon Peter said the UC3 was afloat and he was in the sail, then he disappeared, and seconds later came back up and the boat sank. I guess this is why I am not a detective; all I could think of is, no matter he and the journalist did, or what crime may have been committed, why scuttle the sub? Obviously, to obscure forensic evidence. Like one friend said, the inside of the sub could have been a bloody mess.


If I ever needed to hide evidence by scuttling a submarine, I would most certainly do it in a much deeper spot than seven meters.

Or was he caught totally by surprise, and had to do it right then and there? But if that’s the case, and if it were me, I’d just figure the jig was up, and wouldn’t bother to scuttle it, knowing that they’d just pull it right back up anyway.

No I haven’t, but I just read the sample pages, and it’s currently in the “save for later” section of my shopping cart. Looks right up my alley. Thanks!


Just adding, this appears right up my alley as well. Added to my Kindle and I’ll be reading this during my trip this week.


Now we know.

A Danish inventor charged over the death of Swedish journalist Kim Wall has said she died in an accident on his submarine and he “buried” her at sea, Copenhagen police say.

The court case is being heard behind closed doors but Peter Madsen’s explanation of what happened was released after a request from the defence and prosecution.

Ms Wall was last seen on Mr Madsen’s submarine on the night of 10 August.
The search for her continues.

In a statement, Copenhagen police also said that maritime authorities have determined the route the submarine travelled in Koge Bay and the Oresund strait before sinking.

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.
The Danish inventor has been charged with negligent manslaughter. The police say they cannot release any more information at this time.


I’m not an expert on maritime law, but that sounds like a fishy rationale. I believe that a captain could marry a couple on board, but not murder them and then dispose of the bodies with impunity.