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Expert weighs in on stowaways mystery

An aviation expert says he’s surprised that the second suspected stowaway survived such cold conditions.

A British Airways’ A380 airbus flying over Cape Town. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - An aviation expert says he's surprised that one of the stowaway survived an 11 hour flight by clinging to the aircraft.

On Wednesday two stowaways managed to fly to London from Johannesburg by sneaking onto the undercarriage of a British Airways flight.

One man reportedly plunged to his death on Thursday as the plane approached Heathrow Airport.

The second suspected stowaway is reported to be in a serious condition in a London hospital and is being treated under police guard.

They apparently had to withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing point for 11 hours while clinging to the Boeing 747.

Aviation expert James Pitman says temperatures outside the plane during altitude can reach between -35 and -50 degrees.

Pitman said, "I'm completely amazed that one of them is still alive because I fly aeroplanes between 10,000 and 12,000 feet where it's already cold and unpleasant."

Authorities are hoping the suspect who survived will be able to provide insight into the reasons behind the drastic measure to leave South Africa.

LISTEN: The impossible story of stowaways.

MYSTERY LOOMS OVER IDENTITIES OF SUSPECTED STOWAWAYS

Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) says it's difficult to establish whether the two suspected stowaways who managed to fly to London from Johannesburg by clinging to the undercarriage of an aircraft were in fact South Africans.

The airports company says because the pair were found in London - it's up to British authorities to confirm their nationalities.

One man reportedly plunged to his death as the plane approached Heathrow Airport yesterday - after withstanding temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing point for 11 hours

The second suspected stowaway is said to be in a critical condition at a London hospital under police guard.

He's said to be between the ages of 25 and 30-years-old.

Acsa's Collin Naidoo said, "We are waiting for information from the British authorities. We don't know the identities of the stowaways yet."

Acsa says the claims are severe and that it's reviewing security at South African airports to identify any weaknesses.

Police also confirmed that they have been roped in to probe the allegations.