An amateur, homemade submarine carrying a Swedish journalist was sunk in a “deliberate act,” Danish investigators have concluded Monday, as they continue to search for her body.
Kim Wall, 30, was seen leaving with Peter Madsen, 46, the lone survivor on his 40-ton homemade submarine that later floundered off Denmark’s east coast on Thursday, the BBC reported.
He was arrested hours later and was charged with manslaughter.
Officials say that Wall was on the sub—named the Nautilus—when it sank. Wall’s body, however, wasn’t found inside the vessel.
“It appears to be a deliberate act to sink the submarine,” Jens Moller, the chief homicide investigator of the Copenhagen police, said on Sunday, the BBC reported.
“We’re still hoping that we’ll find Kim Wall alive,” Moller added. “But we are preparing ourselves for the fact that she may not be.”
Wall, who wrote for Vice and the New York Times, was working on a story about Madsen and his submarine. Madsen, 46, used crowdfunding in 2008 to finance the construction of the vessel.
They didn’t elaborate on the motive.
Madsen said that he was innocent.
“I was toying with various things on the submarine and then an error occurred,” he told TV2, Fox News reported. He said the sub sank due to technical problems, though he later changed his statement, according to police. They didn’t say how.
As reported by The Associated Press, boat owner Kristian Isbak saw the submarine floating in a nearby bay on Friday morning. He saw Madsen in the tower of the sub.
“He then climbed down inside the submarine and there was then some kind of air flow coming up and the submarine started to sink,” Isbak told AP. “[He] came up again and stayed in the tower until water came into it.”
Madsen then reportedly swam to a nearby boat as the sub sank.
“It took about 30 seconds for Nautilus to sink, and I couldn’t close any hatches or anything,” Madsen told TV2. “But I guess that was pretty good because I otherwise still would have been down there.”
Wall’s family, meanwhile, is hoping for the best outcome.
“It is with a great concern that we, her family, received the news that Kim is missing after an interview with Peter Madsen in Denmark,” the family said in a statement to the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We sincerely hope that she will be found and that she is well.”