File picture: Mujahid Safodien/AP

Passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg were left in shock after two passengers died in separate incidents on Tuesday.

Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) spokesperson Betty Maloka said: “Airport management can confirm that two unfortunate incidents where lives were lost on separate occasions were reported to the SAPS at the airport.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said a man aged 46 died of a heart attack early on Tuesday.

She added that in another incident, a female passenger suffered health problems before she collapsed and died at the airport, before boarding her flight.

The deceased are not related and the incidents happened at separate times.

It is believed that the man was about to board a FlySafair aircraft to Cape Town when he died.

According to the airline’s head of sales and distribution, Kirby Gordon, the man did not look well when he boarded the flight. That, he said, prompted one of the crew members to ask him if he was fine to fly.

“He was at the door of the aircraft when the flight attendant asked him if he was okay. She sat him down on a chair not far from the door and turned to go and consult with the captain, so that he could determine if the passenger was fine to fly.

“She had just taken two steps when he collapsed,” said Gordon.

Gordon added that as flight attendants were trained in safety procedures and also operate at the level of first responders, they immediately tried to resuscitate the man.

“They were unfortunately unable to save his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those connected to him, and with those who witnessed this tragic event. We would also like to say thank you to the other passengers for their patience,” Kirby said.

The passengers were asked to disembark the aircraft so police could investigate the scene. They were then put on another aircraft.

A FlySafair flight from Durban to Joburg was delayed after a foetus was found in a toilet last week.