Sydney seaplane tragedy victims and pilot identified

A British family-of-five who were tragically killed when their seaplane crashed into a river north of Sydney on New Year's Eve have all been identified.

Millionaire CEO Richard Cousins was on-board the plane with his two sons, fiancee Emma Bowden and her 11-year-old daughter Heather when it plunged into the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, about 3.15pm on Sunday.

Mr Cousins' two sons Edward, 23, and William, 25, were also both killed in the accident, as was experienced pilot Gareth Morgan, 44.  

The chief executive of British catering giant Compass, Mr Cousins was due to retire in March having spent the past 11 years at the helm and transforming a business on its knees to turning a £1.6billion annual profit.

It is believed he was in Australia on a family holiday to celebrate the New Year with his family when they died.

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Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11, died in a horror seaplane crash in the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, on New Year's Eve

Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11, died in a horror seaplane crash in the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, on New Year's Eve

Richard Cousins (right) - a millionaire CEO in charge of British catering company Compass - was on board the plane with his fiancee, her daughter and his two sons

Richard Cousins (right) - a millionaire CEO in charge of British catering company Compass - was on board the plane with his fiancee, her daughter and his two sons

Mr Cousins' sons Edward, 23 (left) and William, 25 (right) were also killed when their seaplane plunged into the Hawkesbury River

It's believed Ms Bowden and her daughter (pictured) were travelling with Mr Cousins and his sons on a festive family holiday

It's believed Ms Bowden (left) and her daughter (right) were travelling with Mr Cousins and his sons on a festive family holiday

Gareth Morgan (pictured), who was one of the six to be killed on Sunday, has been described a 'very experienced pilot' 

 One of the six to be named as dead is experienced 44-year-old Australian pilot Gareth Morgan (pictured left and right)

Mr Morgan (pictured), who was one of the six to be killed on Sunday, has been described a 'very experienced pilot'

The body of a passenger recovered from the downed seaplane that crashed on Sunday killing six people is carried by police and paramedics

The body of a passenger recovered from the downed seaplane that crashed on Sunday killing six people is carried by police and paramedics

When he announced in September that he would be retiring in March, the company's share price plummeted.

Mr Cousins was named at No 11 on last year's 100 Best Performing CEOs in the World by Harvard Business Review. 

The 58-year-old had also served on the board of supermarket giant Tesco, but resigned last year in protest at plans to buy wholesaler Booker. 

Paul Walsh, Compass chairman, said: 'We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news.

'The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard's family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.

'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.' 

Six people were killed after the tourist plane crashed into a river near Sydney on Sunday afternoon. Pictured is a plane believed to be the doomed aircraft spotted moments before it crashed

The six people including five Britons killed in a seaplane crash north of Sydney have been named; pictured is one of the bodies being removed by police and paramedics

The six people including five Britons killed in a seaplane crash north of Sydney have been named; pictured is one of the bodies being removed by police and paramedics

New South Wales Police and investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau pictured on a police launch at the site where a seaplane crashed on New Year's Eve

New South Wales Police and investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau pictured on a police launch at the site where a seaplane crashed on New Year's Eve

A New South Wales policewoman is seen holding a piece of debris from the seaplane which crashed in the Hawkesbury River

A New South Wales policewoman is seen holding a piece of debris from the seaplane which crashed in the Hawkesbury River

Five Britons, including an 11-year-old girl, were on board the Sydney Seaplanes Cessna aircraft when it came down. Pictured are police officers gathering evidence at the scene

Five Britons, including an 11-year-old girl, were on board the Sydney Seaplanes Cessna aircraft when it came down. Pictured are police officers gathering evidence at the scene

A brave holidaymaker told how he desperately tried to open the door of the sinking sea plane but it went down too quickly.

Todd Sellars said he was on a houseboat just 50m away when the aircraft went into the water on Sunday.

'I was with friends on the houseboat when the plane just nosedived into the water,' Mr Sellars told ABC Radio.

'I jumped into the water and tried to open the door,' he 

'I just thought it was coming in low doing a flyby, but when we look out on the corner it just nosedived. 

Mr Sellars told how and friends swam to try and rescue the passengers, but the aircraft sank too quickly.

'I ran my hands down through the windows but I couldn't open the door - it was sinking too fast,' he said.

'The plane was pretty long so it was probably three or four metres under the water by the time we got down to the door.' 

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash.

'It is a tragic accident and... our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were lost,' Mr Turnbull said in Bondi on Monday.

'We don't know yet what caused it, but it's just a tragedy. We grieve for those who lost their lives.'

Police are now working on the logistics of refloating the wreckage.

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