Tributes paid to mum with ‘heart of gold’ after she dies in horror plane crash

Tributes have been paid to a mum with a "heart of gold" who died in a horror plane crash.

Margaret O'Neill, 61, a nurse, was killed when a seaplane crashed into a concrete pier in New York City on Sunday.

Her partner Jose Urena, 66, a skyscraper mechanic, was left with a shattered ankle from the tragedy, BelfastLive reports.

The aircraft was being flown by local restaurant owner Joe Oppedisano when it crashed in Queens.

He and Jose survived and are still being treated in hospital for their injuries.

Alberto Vargas, Urena’s brother-in-law, said: "She had a heart of gold and she will be missed by many people and was loved by many people.

"We are very sad and heartbroken that she is gone."

A family notice said Margaret, who worked as a nurse and lived in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was a loving mother to Brendan and Christopher and partner of Jose.

In an online post, Mr Oppedisano's daughter Tina Marie said it was a "tragic day" for everyone involved.

She wrote: "My family and I would like to thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.

"It is impossible to reach back to you all individually but know your messages have been heard.

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"At this time we ask for everyone to please respect our privacy and keep the victims of this accident and my father in your prayers."

One witness said they heard a "big roar" before pier crash on Sunday.

Thee witness told NBC News: "[It was] like a tractor-trailer was coming down the block at full speed and they hit something.

"Jet skiers were at the scene first, they jumped in, took two people out… it was a bad scene, a bad situation."

Police and fire crews rescued the two survivors on Sunday afternoon local time.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the "plane was travelling rather fast along the water".

He added that it "skipped twice and hit the pier" while trying to land.

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