A family acquaintance, Ivan D'Souza, also considered her a "confident" person.
"She was a student here at Father Muller. She was a confident girl. And that's what her teachers also tell us about her. She would not normally make mistakes," he said on the phone from Mangalore. "We are not able to digest the news about her death."
Others back in Britain also praised her as a professional and caring person.
Lord Glenarthur, chairman of the private King Edward VII's Hospital where she worked, described her as "a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients."
And the hospital's chief executive, John Lofthouse, spoke of her as "a much loved and valued colleague" who would be greatly missed by her co-workers.
For now, D'Souza said, much of Saldanha's family is in her birthplace, waiting for her body to arrive. "We should get it as soon as possible," he said.
The decision on when to fly her remains back to India is one for her relatives to make, London's Metropolitan Police said.
So far, her family's most public expressions of grief have been made via Facebook.
Barboza, Saldanha's husband, wrote over the weekend: "I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances. She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India."
Saldanha's daughter, whose Facebook page is headed by a photo of herself with her mother and brother, wrote: "I miss you, I loveeee you. (Heart) Jacintha saldanha."