Danish inventor’s crowdfunded submarine sinks near Denmark

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A crowdfunded, amateur-built submarine that was missing in Danish waters has sunk south of Copenhagen, but the owner and builder who was alone onboard is safe, the Danish navy said Friday.

Initially the navy said the 40-ton, nearly 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) UC3 Nautilus, which cost 1.5million DKK (£154,000, $200,000) to build, was ‘found sailing’ south of Copenhagen.

However, navy press spokesman Anders Damgaard later said it had sunk and Peter Madsen, who built the vessel that was launched in 2008, had ‘been taken over to one of our ships’.  He declined to give details. 

Madsen later said there was a valve error that became serious when he tried to repair it. 

Denmark's navy says that Peter Madsen's privately built submarine that had been feared missing in Danish waters has been found and the crew is safe

The submarine was Madsen's third attempt at building such a structure and was the largest privately built submarine in the world at the time of its launch in 2008

After the submarine was reported missing early Friday, the navy had launched a search from Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm with two helicopters and three ships

Footage aired on Denmark’s TV2 channel showed Madsen, 46, getting off what seemed to be a private boat and making a thumbs up sign as he walked away.  

Upon his rescue from Køge Bay, Madsen said: ‘I’m fine. But I’m sorry because “Nautilus” has gone down.’

‘He told us that the journalist who also had been on board had been dropped off Thursday evening,’ Damgaard told The Associated Press. 

Swedish media said the reporter was Swedish. ‘They were the only two on board yesterday’. 

After the submarine was reported missing early Friday, the navy had launched a search from Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm with two helicopters and three ships, and encouraged members of the public with boats and sonar to search, too

Madsen, pictured above in 2008 in front of his submarine, was the only person on board when it sank

The navy says that the 40-ton, nearly 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) submarine that had one person on board had been 'found sailing' south of Copenhagen

‘He told us he had technical problems’ to explain why the submarine failed to respond to radio contact, Damgaard said. 

The submarine was Madsen’s third attempt at building such a structure and was the largest privately built submarine in the world at the time of its launch. 

The Nautilus is a diesel-electric submarine. The diesel engine is uses when sailing or propelling just below the surface, while the electrical engine is used when the submarine is deep below the water’s surface.

It was built like a post-World War II submarine, with a galley, crew bunks, officer’s mass, bridge and engine room.

It’s named after the famed submarine manned by Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo character in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

 

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