Second Boeing Whistleblower Dies Unexpectedly, Raising Concerns

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, passed away on April 30 at the age of 45, just two months after the death of another Boeing whistleblower, John Barnett. Dean had been among the first to sound the alarm about potentially dangerous defects with the 737 Max, and his unexpected death has raised concerns and speculation about the safety of speaking out against the aerospace giant.

Whistleblowers' Deaths Raise Questions

Dean died after developing a staph infection that quickly turned into pneumonia. His family is seeking an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. In March, Barnett, a former Boeing manager who had raised safety concerns about the company’s aircraft, was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The unexpected deaths of two Boeing whistleblowers in quick succession have sparked discussions on social media, with some questioning whether foul play was involved, given the men’s public criticism of Boeing’s safety practices. Lawyers representing Dean and Barnett are calling for thorough investigations into their deaths to ensure that proper procedures were followed.

Dean had alleged that managers at Spirit AeroSystems failed to act on manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX planes, such as mis-drilled holes in the rear bulkhead that could potentially threaten an aircraft’s structural integrity. He was let go from the company in April 2023, which he believed was an act of retaliation for speaking out.

Concerns Over Whistleblower Intimidation

The stress of the past few years, including being terminated after blowing the whistle, may have taken a toll on Dean’s health, according to his attorneys. They noted that stress can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses like pneumonia and MRSA.

Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems declined to comment on the public speculation surrounding the whistleblowers’ deaths. However, the concerns raised by these events have highlighted the potential risks faced by those who speak out against powerful corporations.

As federal investigators take a closer look at Spirit and Boeing following recent incidents involving the 737 Max, the deaths of these two whistleblowers have raised additional questions about the companies’ safety practices and the potential consequences faced by those who voice their concerns.

Investigations Underway

Attorneys Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, who had been advocates for both Dean and Barnett, had a meeting scheduled with officials in Charleston, South Carolina, where they planned to request details of the investigation into Barnett’s death, including video footage and test results.

The thorough investigation of these deaths is crucial to ensure that whistleblowers feel safe coming forward with information that could potentially save lives. The aviation industry relies on the courage of individuals like Dean and Barnett to maintain the highest standards of safety and quality control.

As the investigations into the deaths of Joshua Dean and John Barnett continue, the public awaits answers and assurances that those who speak out against corporate wrongdoing will be protected and their concerns taken seriously.

The Importance of Protecting Whistleblowers

The unexpected deaths of Joshua Dean and John Barnett have brought to light the critical role that whistleblowers play in ensuring the safety and integrity of the aviation industry. These individuals often face significant personal and professional risks when they choose to speak out against powerful corporations.

It is essential that whistleblowers are provided with the necessary protections and support to ensure that they can come forward without fear of retaliation or harm. This includes not only legal protections but also a culture that encourages and values the contributions of those who speak out against wrongdoing.