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Boeing whistleblower found dead amid legal battle

John Barnett's demise raises questions about production standards and corporate accountability


A former Boeing employee, John Barnett, known for his outspokenness regarding production standards, has been discovered deceased in the United States. Barnett, who served the aerospace giant for 32 years until his retirement in 2017, was found deceased on March 9th, succumbing to a "self-inflicted" wound, as confirmed by the Charleston County coroner.

The 62-year-old's demise occurred while he was providing testimony in a whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing. Barnett had previously served as a quality manager at Boeing's North Charleston plant, overseeing the production of the 787 Dreamliner.

In 2019, Barnett revealed to the BBC concerning practices within Boeing, alleging the deliberate installation of sub-standard parts and raising concerns about oxygen system malfunctions in emergency scenarios. Despite his efforts to bring attention to these issues, Barnett claimed that his alerts to management went unheeded.

While Boeing refuted Barnett's claims, a 2017 review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) partially validated some of his concerns, prompting Boeing to undertake corrective measures.

Following his retirement, Barnett pursued legal action against Boeing, alleging defamation and obstruction of his career advancement due to his whistleblowing activities. He had been in Charleston for legal proceedings related to this case at the time of his passing.

Barnett's death adds to the ongoing scrutiny surrounding Boeing's production standards, compounded by recent incidents, including an emergency exit door detachment from a Boeing 737 Max aircraft in January and subsequent findings of quality control lapses by the FAA during a recent audit of Boeing's operations.

[Source: BBC]

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