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Death of Boeing Whistleblower Discovered in the United States

Former Boeing Employee Involved in Whistleblower Lawsuit Found Deceased in the US

John Barnett, a former long-time employee of Boeing, known for his outspokenness regarding the company's production practices, has been discovered deceased in the United States.

Barnett, who dedicated 32 years to Boeing before retiring in 2017, was recently providing testimony in a whistleblower lawsuit against the aerospace giant.

Boeing expressed sadness upon learning of Barnett's passing, confirmed by the Charleston County coroner on Monday. According to reports, the 62-year-old's death on March 9th was determined to be the result of a self-inflicted wound, with authorities currently conducting an investigation.

During his tenure at Boeing, Barnett served as a quality manager at the North Charleston plant, primarily involved in the production of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft for long-haul flights.

In 2019, Barnett spoke out to the BBC, alleging that production line workers were under pressure to install subpar components into aircraft intentionally. He also raised concerns about flawed oxygen systems, potentially jeopardizing passenger safety in emergencies.

Barnett highlighted instances where proper procedures for tracking components were neglected, allowing defective parts to be utilized in aircraft construction, even salvaging substandard components from scrap bins to prevent delays.

Despite bringing these concerns to management's attention, Barnett claimed no action was taken. While Boeing refuted his allegations, a 2017 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review acknowledged some of Barnett's concerns, prompting Boeing to address issues with non-conforming parts in the factory.

Regarding the oxygen cylinder problem, Boeing acknowledged identifying faulty bottles from suppliers in 2017 but denied their use on aircraft.

Following his retirement, Barnett pursued legal action against Boeing, alleging defamation and career hindrance due to his whistleblowing. These accusations were disputed by Boeing.

Tragically, Barnett's death occurred while he was in Charleston for legal proceedings related to his case. He had recently provided a deposition and was scheduled for further questioning before his untimely demise.

Boeing expressed condolences to Barnett's family and friends, acknowledging the loss.

The timing of Barnett's passing coincides with heightened scrutiny of production standards at Boeing and its supplier, Spirit Aerosystems. This scrutiny intensified after an incident involving a Boeing 737 Max, where an unused emergency exit door detached during take-off in January.

An ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board pointed to lapses in manufacturing, while a recent FAA audit highlighted alleged non-compliance with quality control requirements at Boeing."

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