Crewmembers of the commuter plane that crashed in upstate New York, Thursday night, talked about "significant ice buildup" on the wings and windshield of the plane, officials said Friday.
All 50 people on board Continental Flight 3407 died after the plane nose-dived into a neighborhood near Buffalo.
The twin turboprop aircraft, en route from New Jersey, crashed just a few miles short of one of the Buffalo airport's runways.
The crash is still under investigation, but other pilots in the area also complained to air traffic control about ice building up on their wings.
Explosion Rocks Neighborhood
Just as residents of Clarence, New York neighborhood started turning in for the night, an explosion shook their houses.
"We heard a noise for about five or six seconds," said Daniel Decker. "It kind of rocked the house. I thought it was coming straight down on the house and then felt it like explode."
"We looked out the window and saw a huge plume of red, red smoke," said another witness.
"I thought debris was going to hit my house, one man said. "I just ducked."
The plane headed to the Buffalo airport, just ten miles away plunged into a house.
Two women inside the home were able to escape, but everyone onboard the plane and one person on the ground died.
"It was a major fire and explosion, so you can imagine after a fire like that, there's a lot of carnage there," said the National Transporation Safety Board's Steve Chealander.
Continental Flight 3407 took off from Newark, New Jersey en route for Buffalo. It was foggy, and a light snow was falling.
Pilot Did Not Say Plane Was in Danger
In an audio recording of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic controllers, the pilot did not say the plane was in any danger.
But shortly before 10:30 pm, her plane dropped off radar.
"I was sitting the family room watching TV and it flew over and I saw it on fire," explained one eyewitness. "And I heard an explosion and then a few minutes later, I heard another explosion."
"We put our clothes on, ran outside," the eyewitness said. "We saw flames three houses high.
Families Coping with Grief
Chris Kausner's sister was on the flight. He had to call his parents vacationing in Florida to tell them the news.
"To tell you the truth," he said, "I heard my mother make a noise on the phone that I've never heard before. So not good, not good."
Eyewitnesses said the plane's landing gear, a wing and engine are now smoldering inside a crater.
One house is destroyed, another partially collapsed. Twelve houses were evacuated.
"Our prayers and thoughts are with the families that have been involved," said David Bissonette, emergency coordinator in Clarence Center.
"I'm thinking the worst and thinking about the fact that my mother has to fly from Florida and what I'm going to tell my two sons," Kaunner told reporters.
Federal investigators are now talking to eyewitnesses and examining the plane's black box recorders to piece together what went wrong.