Five members of a family from Tooting have died after a seaplane crash in Sydney on New Year's Eve.

Richard Cousins, 58, died along with his sons Will, 25, Edward, 23, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11.

They were on a return flight to Sydney's Rose Bay when the seaplane nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at about 3.10pm on Sunday (December 31).

The pilot, Gareth Morgan, 44, also died.

Richard Cousins was the chief executive of FTSE 100 company Compass Group.

Chairman of Compass, Paul Walsh, said: "It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years.

"Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain's leading companies."

His son Will was head of press for campaigners Open Britain with the group's chairman Roland Rudd calling him an 'extraordinary young man' who would be 'missed beyond words'.

They were a 'happy-go-lucky' family, according to neighbour Lata Maisuria.

She said that 11-year-old Heather had recently started at a local secondary school.

Lata added: "She seemed happy there.

"I asked the daughter a couple of times how she was liking it, and she seems to have fitted in nicely at the school, and she seemed to be very happy.

"She really wanted to go to that school, she was looking forward to it."

Chief executive of Surrey County Cricket Club, Richard Gould, paid tribute to Mr Cousins, who was a supporter of the team.

He said: "Richard was a regular and very popular visitor to the Kia Oval, and a great supporter of cricket.

"He was a member of all 18 first-class counties.

"This is a tragic incident."

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators said the seaplane is believed to have "sunk rapidly" upon impact.

The bodies on board have all been recovered.

Emma Bowden worked for OK! Magazine with her colleague Lisa Byrne calling her the "Grace Kelly" of the office.

She added: "She was quite regal, very serene, and very well educated.

"My first impressions of her were that she was lovely - a very kind person.

"She was such a wonderful, calming influence in the office, and I never heard her grumble.

"Her absolute main priority was her daughter Heather.

"My heart just goes out to their families and their loved ones - this (the crash) has just been awful. I'm just utterly devastated really."

Edward Cousins was a graduate of the Fife institution and got his degree last summer from The University of St Andrews.

A spokeswoman said: "Edward graduated with a degree in history last summer and had a bright future ahead of him.

"Everyone at the university who knew him will be shocked and saddened by this news.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time."