Report Missing Scientist Was Testing Sub-Detecting Device
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ A Swedish scientist was testing a new device for detecting submarines when he disappeared at sea last summer near islands off Stockholm, news reports said on Thursday.
But a police detective said there was no sign 62-year-old Svante Oden had that kind of equipment with him and that investigators are treating the case as an ordinary disappearance at sea.
Sweden’s navy has been trying to improve its sub-hunting capabilities after a Soviet submarine ran aground off the Karlskrona naval base in October 1981. A parliamentary commission charged Moscow also had sent submarines into a bay off the Berga base near Stockholm a year later.
In October, the navy reported about 15 foreign submarine violations from July until September, but there has been no firm evidence of the vessels’ nationality.
Oden was reported missing in late July, but his 33-foot motorboat was recovered. The investigation is being led by police at Norrtalje, which is on the eastern seaboard about 55 miles north of Stockholm.
News reports quoted Alf Karlsson, superintendent of the Swedish security authority, as saying the military had assigned Oden to test naval technology.
Quoting unidentified sources, the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper said that when Oden left harbor on July 30 he had brought with him sensitive sub- detecting equipment, but when the boat was found a day later it was empty.
When asked about the instruments Oden reportedly had with him, Norrtalje police detective Stig Sodermark told The Associated Press, ″there is no evidence he did so.″
″We consider it just an ordinary disappearence at sea,″ Sodermark said.
″It is not unusual that dead bodies disappear. And secondly we don’t know exactly where he disappeared. It’s a large area of water,″ he said.
But Ake Bresle, a fellow researcher and close friend of Oden, said he was puzzled by several elements of Oden’s disappearance.
″It is hard to believe that Oden could have fallen overboard from that boat,″ said Bresle. ″He has had the boat for some 20 years and he was an experienced sailor.″
″But more confusing is the fact that the entire equipment is gone as well,″ Bresle added.
The investigation into Oden’s disappearance has been carried out largely in secret, newspapers said. Oden’s relatives and friends were also asked to keep silent on the matter, Svenska Dagbladet reported.
News reports said Oden’s device was designed to improve detection of submarines under difficult conditions. They said it consisted of a box with electronic sensors on the sea floor through which water would flow freely. The sensors would react to the movements of water and relay the impulses to personnel in a boat.