Boeing Faces 10 New Whistleblowers After Tragic Deaths of Two Colleagues

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The aviation giant Boeing is facing a surge in whistleblowers voicing safety concerns in the wake of two recent deaths among those who had previously spoken out, as reported by the New York Post.

The first of these whistleblowers, John Barnett, a former Boeing quality control manager aged 62, was discovered dead in what appeared to be a suicide in March.

At the time of his death, Barnett was giving depositions alleging that Boeing had retaliated against him for raising concerns about quality issues.

Barnett was found in his truck with a gunshot wound to the head, and a suicide note was reportedly found nearby. However, doubts have been raised by his legal team regarding whether he took his own life.

Police reportedly conducted an unusual investigation inside Barnett’s vehicle during the suicide inquiry. Additionally, hotel staff who had interacted with Barnett on the evening before his death stated that he had seemed perfectly fine.

Due to these circumstances, Barnett’s lawyers are calling for a comprehensive investigation as they dispute the notion that he died by 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.”

Just under two months later, a second whistleblower connected to Boeing, Joshua Dean, passed away at 45 due to a sudden and severe illness.

Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, was among the first to raise concerns about potential manufacturing defects on the 737 Max jets.

Reports from the Seattle Times indicate that Dean lost his life to a rapidly spreading infection that resulted in multiple complications.

He was residing in Wichita, Kansas, where Spirit AeroSystems is headquartered, and was previously known for his healthy lifestyle despite his sudden illness.

Attorneys Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles representing both whistleblowers are advocating for a thorough investigation into their untimely deaths.

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

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

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.”

“I have analyzed Boeing’s own data to conclude that the company is taking manufacturing shortcuts on the 787 program that may significantly reduce the airplane safety and the life cycle,” said Salehpour during the hearing. “Since 2013, there have been serious issues on the 787 program not properly closing thousands of gaps in its assembly of the fuselage on major joints.”

Another whistleblower, former Boeing engineer and senior manager Pierson, alleged there was a “criminal cover-up” at the company, claiming records related to a door blowout incident on a 737 Max plane did in fact exist, contrary to Boeing’s claims.

“Records do in fact exist. I know this because I personally passed them to the FBI,” Pierson said during the hearing, adding, “For the last couple months, there’s been talk that there’s no records, and that’s obviously not the case. It has been available for months.”

Currently, it seems that a minimum of 10 additional whistleblowers have raised safety issues regarding Boeing’s aircraft.

These whistleblowers have described a concerning situation at Boeing, accusing the company of placing profits above safety, neglecting issues, and taking action against employees who raised concerns.

New York Post reported:

The attorneys for both men hope their deaths don’t scare away the at least 10 other whistleblowers who want the company to clean up its act.

Brian Knowles, a Charleston, South Carolina, attorney who represented both Barnett and Dean hope their deaths were not in vain.

“These men were heroes. So are all the whistleblowers. They loved the company and wanted to help the company do better,” Knowles told The Post.

“They didn’t speak out to be aggravating or for fame. They’re raising concerns because people’s lives are at stake.”

Knowles and others inside the Boeing scandals are hesitant to speculate about conspiracy theories swirling around the two whistleblower deaths.

Knowles pointed out that the Charleston, SC police are still wrapping up their investigation of Barnett’s death — and that it may take some weeks for tests to reveal more about Dean’s passing.

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