TODAY   |  July 31, 2013

Spanish train was 70 mph over limit before crash

Data emerging from the train crash in Spain that killed dozens reveals the driver had the train moving at 119 mph before trying to brake in a 50 mph zone, at which time the train derailed. The driver was also on the phone at the time of the crash. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski.

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

>>> new details this morning in the deadly train crash in northern spain last week. we now know exactly how fast the driver was going at the time and what he was doing just seconds before the train derailed. michelle kosinski is in our london bureau with the latest. good morning.

>> reporter: hi, natalie. just as planes have black boxes this train had one. the train was going 120 miles per hour when he should have been doing 50 just before he took the curve and he was on the phone. data emerging from this spanish train crash paints still an ugly uglier picture of what happened. showing the experienced driver, francisco garzon blasting along at 119 miles per hour and then suddenly trying to break in the 50 miles per hour zone. at the moment it twisted, crashed and flew off the tracks the train was going 95 and black box stages shows at the time garzon was talking on the phone with the train company. court documents say it sounded like he was also looking at documents.

>> unfortunately it was not surprise. more and more in these kind of transportation accidents, you look toward distraction. what's happened before in chatsworth, california, an accident, a head on collision where an engineer blew through a red light , a stoplight and went head on into a freight train . he was texting just 22 seconds before the accident.

>> reporter: in spain, a memorial service honored the 79 dead including two americans. dozens more are still in the hospital. 22 in critical condition. from the beginning this driver has taken responsibility for his actions. the spanish press reports he told the court he had a momentary lapse and forgot where he was on the tracks. he's now accused of 79 counts of reckless homicide. natalie.

>>> michelle in our london bureau .