Boeing Faces 10 New Whistleblowers After Tragic Deaths of Two Colleagues

by Jim Hᴏft at

The aviation giant Boeing is facing a growing number of whistleblowers coming forward with safety concerns following the recent deaths of two previous whistleblowers, the New York Post reported.

The first whistleblower, John Barnett, a 62-year-old former Boeing quality control manager, was found dead in March in an apparent suicide. Barnett had been in the midst of giving depositions, alleging Boeing retaliated against him for complaints about quality lapses.

Barnett was found in his truck “suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.” A suicide note was reportedly found next to Boeing whistleblower John Barnett. However, his lawyers are questioning whether he took his own life.

According to the New York Post, police dusted the inside of John Barnett’s vehicle, which is an unusual move in a suicide investigation. Also, according to The Post, hotel workers who saw Barnett the night before he committed suicide say he seemed totally fine.

Barnett’s lawyers are asking for a thorough probe because they don’t believe he committed suicide.

“John was in the midst of a deposition in his whistleblower case, which finally was nearing the end,” Barnett’s lawyers said. “He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on.”

Less than two months, a second Boeing-linked whistleblower, Joshua Dean, died at the age of 45 after a sudden and severe illness. Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, was one of the first to raise the alarm about potentially dangerous manufacturing defects on the 737 Max jets.

According to reports by the Seattle Times, Dean succumbed to a fast-spreading infection that led to multiple complications, ending his life at the age of 45. Dean, a resident of Wichita, Kansas—where Spirit AeroSystems is based—was previously in good health and known for his healthy lifestyle.

Both their attorneys, Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, are pushing for an in-depth investigation into their deaths.

“It’s an absolute tragedy when a whistleblower dies under suspicious circumstances,” Turkewitz stated.

Last month, Quality Engineer Sam Salehpour, Ed Pierson, Executive Director of The Foundation for Aviation Safety and former Boeing Engineer, Joe Jacobsen, Aerospace Engineer, Technical Advisor to the Foundation for Aviation Safety, and former FAA Engineer, along with Shawn Pruchnicki, Ph.D., Professional Practice Assistant Professor for Integrated Systems Engineering at Ohio State University, testified before the Senate.

One whistleblower, Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour, testified before Congress that he had faced “physical threats” from his boss after raising concerns about structural issues with the 787 Dreamliner. He claimed that debris was found in the unfilled gaps between aircraft parts “80% of the time.”