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Submarine Owner Detained Over Journalist’s Disappearance After Ship Sinks

(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — A Danish court ordered the owner of an amateur-built submarine Saturday to be held in pre-trial detention for 24 days while police investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist who had been on the ship before it sank.

Peter Madsen was arrested Friday on preliminary manslaughter charges, hours after his 40-ton, nearly 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) submarine sank off Denmark’s eastern coast.

He has denied responsibility for the fate of 30-year-old Kim Wall, saying the journalist disembarked before his vessel, named the UC3 Nautilus, went down.

Judge Kari Soerensen announced the ruling after a two-hour custody hearing held behind closed doors.

Madsen’s defense lawyer, Bettina Hald Engmark, said her client maintains his innocence. He is “willing to cooperate” and hasn’t decided whether to appeal the detention ruling, Hald Engmark said.

Before the hearing was closed, the courtroom was packed with Danish and Swedish reporters and the 46-year-old Madsen’s relatives. Madsen smiled and chatted with his lawyer.

“I would very much like to express myself,” he said after the preliminary charges were read.

Prosecutor Louise Pedersen said Madsen faces the preliminary manslaughter charge “for having killed in an unknown way and in an unknown place Kim Isabell Frerika Wall of Sweden sometime after Thursday 5 p.m.”

Wall’s boyfriend alerted authorities early Friday that the sub had not returned to Copenhagen as expected, prompting a major search involving two helicopters, three ships and several private boats. The Navy said the sub was seen sailing, but then sank shortly afterward.

Kristian Isbak, who had responded to the Navy’s call to help locate the ship on Friday, told The Associated Press he first spotted Madsen standing wearing his trademark military fatigues in the submarine’s tower while it was still afloat.

“He then climbed down inside the submarine and there was then some kind of air flow coming up and the submarine…

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