Tsunami victims to sue French hotel chain, Thailand, US forecasters

A group of Austrian and German victims of the Asian tsunami disaster are to file a lawsuit demanding that Thailand, a French hotel chain and US forecasters prove they reacted adequately to the disaster, their lawyers said Tuesday. A group of Austrian and German victims of the Asian tsunami disaster are to file a lawsuit demanding that Thailand, a French hotel chain and US forecasters prove they reacted adequately to the disaster, their lawyers said Tuesday. The suit, naming the French hotel chain Accor and the US-run tsunami early warning system in the Pacific as well as Thai authorities, will be filed in a New York district court this week, the lawyers said in Vienna.

“We found that serious lapses were committed,” said Herwig Hasslacher, one of the three lawyers for the group.

They said the suit was not, at present, designed to demand compensation but to uncover evidence that would prove negligence.

The case was presented as the first of its kind arising out of the December 26 disaster, when a powerful undersea earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent huge waves pounding into coastlines around the Indian Ocean.

Nearly 290,000 people died, including several thousand Western tourists who were holi