In Bangkok on Thursday, the captain and the owner of the speedboat that TV actress Nida “Tangmo” Patcharaveerapong fell off and drowned in the Chao Phraya river were charged with negligence and operating an unlicensed vessel.
Police in Nonthaburi said on Sunday that formal charges were laid against Tanupat “Por” Lerttaweewit, the owner of the speedboat, and Phaiboon “Robert” Trikanjananun, the driver. Both are being held responsible for Nidia’s death on Thursday.
Nonthaburi Court issued arrest warrants for two men – one for operating an unauthorized vessel and one for negligence resulting in death.
The charge of negligence causing death carries a maximum fine of 200,000 baht or 10 years’ maximum imprisonment or both.
Vessel Tax Unpaid
On Saturday, Mr. Tanupat “Por” Lerttaweewit the speedboat owner insisted that his boat was legally licensed, but said that the vessel tax this year was a few days late.
Mr. Tanupat and Mr. Phaiboon were interrogated late into the night at the Nonthaburi City police station.
Police experts were called in to examine their mobile phones to verify the allegations in the presence of their lawyers.
The two were released on bail on Sunday.
The police have questioned at least eight people so far – all five on board the speedboat, two owners of the boat warehouse, as well as another person whose name has not been released by police.
On Saturday, the owner of the speedboat told a crowd of reporters that Nida and the other passengers were not wearing jackets. However, the speedboat did have lifebuoys in case of an emergency.
Speedboat Toilet Broken
Tangmo’s personal manager, Wisapat “Sand” Manomairat was at the back of the boat when Nida fell off the speedboat into the Chao Phraya, Mr. Tanupat said.
Apparently, the Channel TV actress walked to the back of the boat to relieve herself because the toilet was broken.
A female companion on the boat said on Sunday she was looking at her mobile phone while Nida held on to her legs at the rear of the boat before falling into the river.
Nida’s manager said she was gazing at the river when the accident happened. She said the boat trip was only for sightseeing among friends and acquaintances.
She said the reason Nida did not want to wear a life jacket was that she wanted to take pictures on the boat in her bodysuit.
The 37-year-old actress fell overboard into the Chao Phraya River around 10:40 pm on Thursday. Her body was found by rescue divers at approximately 1 pm on Saturday.
Mother hints at foul play
In an interview with Thai Media, Nida’s mother, Mrs.Panida Sirayutthayothin said she didn’t believe her daughter died in an accidental fall.
Many of the circumstances surrounding the death of her daughter don’t add up, she told reporters. She wanted to know who arranged the photoshoot her daughter was allegedly hired to do.
In her opinion, it was impossible to think that the six people, including Tangmo and her manager, were in the boat together just for a meal. She noted that the actress appeared to have dressed up in the photos.
On Saturday, Mr. Tanupat, the speedboat owner, said everyone on the boat tried their best to find her after she fell into the river, contacting rescue agencies, police, and the shipyard owners to help in the search.
Eakpan Bunluerit, a volunteer rescue worker and fellow actor who joined the search, said there was a deep cut on Nida’s thigh.
A detailed autopsy is still pending on Nida’s body at Police General Hospital. The postmortem results are expected to be released on Monday, according to a police source.
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