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Boeing whistleblower found dead in apparent suicide

Boeing whistleblower dead suicide
Image: X (Twitter)

A prominent whistleblower from Boeing, who raised concerns about safety and quality control issues in the company’s production line, was found dead on Saturday, as per South Carolina authorities.

Boeing whistleblower John Barnett dead in apparent suicide

John Barnett, aged 62, was found in his truck in the parking lot of his hotel, having apparently died from a self-inflicted wound on Friday, according to the Charleston County Coroner’s office.

From 2010 Barnett was employed as a quality manager at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina. He retired on health grounds in March 2017.

Having served 32 years at Boeing, Barnett’s 2019 allegations highlighted that employees at the South Carolina plant were often overworked, resulting in the installation of substandard parts on planes. He also flagged faulty oxygen systems, which could lead to as many as 1 in 4 oxygen masks not working properly.

While Boeing refuted Barnett’s accusations, an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) substantiated some of his claims. A report revealed that more than 50 “non-conforming” parts were untraceable and lost within Boeing’s system.

Barnett was in Charleston to participate in an ongoing lawsuit against the company, alleging retaliation.

The shocking Boeing 737 incident

His death coincides with heightened regulatory scrutiny on Boeing’s manufacturing processes for the 737 Max aircraft, following a midair incident in January where a door blew out during flight. This event triggered a comprehensive investigation into Boeing’s manufacturing practices, revealing deficiencies in quality control.

It’s important to note that Barnett’s concerns were not directly linked to the 737 Max or the Washington manufacturing plant implicated in the scandal.

Boeing expressed condolences to Barnett’s family and friends in a statement provided to the BBC.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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