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DIY Submarine Sinks in Denmark, Hobbyist Suspected of Killing Passenger

The DIY sub was meant to launch some of the world's largest amateur rockets.
Screengrab: Motherboard

According to multiple reports, the inventor of one of the world's largest DIY submarines is being held in Copenhagen on suspicion of "unlawful killing" charges after the sub sank off Denmark's coast, reportedly with a journalist inside.

Five years ago, a Motherboard video crew filmed Peter Madsen of Copenhagen Suborbitals at his workshop in Denmark. At the time, Madsen and his cofounder, Kristian Von Bengtson, were planning the first amateur human spaceflight. The group had planned on launching rockets from the UV3 Nautilus, an amateur submarine built by the nonprofit group. Madsen was slated to be the astronaut.

"It doesn't take much courage to climb on board a rocket and have the hatch sealed and light it. Because it either works or it doesn't work," he told us in 2012. "The period of time you have to realize that is usually very short. It takes an unimaginable amount of courage to be the commanders on the ground to make the decision—let's launch this thing and see if it works."

The launch was delayed because the submarine needed expensive repairs and an Indiegogo funding drive in 2013 to cover the costs fell short. According to Ars Technica, Madsen decided to do the repairs himself, which drew the interest of a Swedish journalist (her name has not been released by police). Madsen and the journalist took the UV3 Nautilus out for a trial Thursday. The submarine sank because of an apparent problem with the ballast tank, and the journalist is still missing. Diving crews have still been unable to enter the submarine.

According to Ars Technica, Madsen is being held on suspicion of "unlawful killing," which is a precursor to a possible manslaughter or murder charge. We will update this post as more information becomes available.