"I heard what sounded like a low buzzing sound, like a chain saw. I knew it was a plane, and I thought, gosh that almost sounds like a plane going down," Biddlecom told "GMA."
"Immediately there was an explosion and the house kind of shook," he said. "It was a terrifying sound." After checking on his children, Biddlecom went outside.
"A few moments later there was an additional explosion and the sky just lit up," he said.
Bob Dworak was watching television when he heard the plane pass overhead, which wasn't unusual because his house is on the airport's flight path.
"This one sounded a little funny, made some sputtering noises and then we heard a loud noise and the house kinda shook," Dworak said.
He hurried to the crash site and was greeted by an enormous fire.
"When we went there, we couldn't see the tail [of the plane] at all. The flames were just so big. All we saw when we got there was a giant column of fire going up where the house was," Dworak said.
Clarence emergency control director Dave Bissonette indicated the plane came straight down.
"It basically dove right into the top of the house from my perspective," Bissonette said. "I'm no expert on re-creation, but it landed on the house, clearly a direct hit."
The plane's pilot had been flying for Continental since Sept. 5, 2005 and had logged 3,379 hours flying for the airline. A neighbor in Lutz, Fla., said Renslow also moonlighted at a local Publix grocery store. An official at Publix confirmed that Renslow worked for them for several years until Aug. 11, 2008.
According to entries on Renslow's Plaxo.com page, he began training on a larger plane last October. His entry on Dec. 8, 2008 exulted, "finished with training and now based in beautiful Newark!"
The tapes of the control tower show how suddenly Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw must have lost control of the plane. At one point, the air traffic controller is talking to the plane and then suddenly there is no answer.
"Call me 3407 Buffalo," the controller says, referring to the missing plane. "Call me 3407 approach."
When there is nothing but silence, the controller asks the pilot of a nearby plane to see whether the missing plane is visible.
"Delta 1998, look out your right side about five miles for a Dash 8. It should be 2,300. Do you see anything there?" the controller asks.
"Ah negative Delta 1998," the pilot replies.
"Call me 3407 Buffalo. Call me 3407 Buffalo," the controller resumes before he broadens his plea for help.
"OK for all aircraft this frequency. We did have a Dash 8 over the marker that didn't make the airport. He appears to be five miles away from the airport."
Other pilots are asked by the control tower whether they are experiencing any icing on their wings.
"It doesn't appear to be building. We've got about a half inch. … About a quarter inch on us from the descent that has remained with us the whole time," says the Delta 1998 pilot.
A plane identified as Cactus 1452 says, "We've been picking up ice here for about the past 10 minutes."
But air safety expert John Nance told "GMA" that he would be surprised if icing caused the crash.
Icing, Nance said, is "usually something that this type of aircraft can handle very well... And it's a brand new aircraft."
Whatever did happen, he said, "was very precipitous. They were fighting a battle that was only seconds long."