Nightly News   |  July 25, 2013

Spain train investigation focuses on train’s drivers

Almost everyone on board the train that hurtled off the rails in Spain was either killed or injured.  Five Americans, in Europe for their daughter’s wedding, were among the wounded. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. the very first reports we got after a high-speed train crash in spain last night were from the first people to make it to the wreckage. they didn't want to talk about what they had seen. today we can all see what happened. it is a fast, modern train like so much of rail travel in europe and the rest of the world . to the untrained eye it just seems to take the corner too fast. well that may well turn out to be the official explanation as well. the death toll here is staggering, at least 80 dead. still over 90 hospitalized. here is another way of putting it, the train is feared to have been going faster going into that turn than even the fastest train in this country can travel on a straightaway. we start off from the scene tonight, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. behind me they are working through the night to clear the wreckage. they have been here since the accident yesterday evening. it is one of the worst europe has seen for decade. almost all of those on board were either killed or injured. a closed circuit camera captured the moment the train hurdling off the rails at high speed with more than 200 people aboard. amateur video shows smoke pouring from the wreckage. nigh g my god, the cameraman said. this is a nightmare. first responders rushed to help. passengers trapped. casualties lifted through windows carried away by paramedics. the toll staggering. scores dead including one american. among the in jid five americans including robert farisa of houston and his wife in europe for their daughter's wedding.

>> our car flipped over. it became chaos. things flew. it was sudden darkness. i was kind of thrown on one side of the train. my wife unfortunately she was sitting on the side where the train flipped over. so everything kind of fell on her. and two other people.

>> reporter: his wife was badly hurt. and is in intensive care tonight.

>> all she wanted was for me to hug her. that's all i could do. of course, screaming out for help to see if they could actually take her in here, because i knew the sooner the better.

>> reporter: today, giant cranes hauled the wreckage from the track. this is one of eight cars from the train. and every one of the carriages we have seen looks the same. windows smashed. the very seats inside thrown around. and in places it is metal shredded. this town has been preparing for a festival. instead people here gathered to give blood. fire fighters on strike went back to work to save lives. spain 's king, juan carlos visited the hospital. the prime minister who is from here declared three days of mourning. an investigation is focussing on the train's two drivers, both survived, and the train's speed. analysis by associated press of the crash video estimates it was going more than double the 50 mile per hour speed limit . brian, here in europe trains continue to be one of the safest ways to travel and one of the most popular. but tonight they're taking a hard look at whether more could have been done to prevent this speeding train from derailing disastrously.

>> in spain tonight. thanks. here