A Boeing Whistleblower Has Been Found Dead Mere Days After Delivering Testimony

Boeing used to be the Rolls Royce of commercial aircrafts. That reputation has plummeted in the last couple decades, with freak accidents, mass groundings, even crashes eroding consumer faith in the safety of their aircraft. A former employee was even recently taking part in testimony about cut corners and sub-standard parts. On Monday, it was reported that this whistleblower had suddenly died.

According to the BBC, John Barnett, who worked for Boeing for 32 years, was found dead on March 9 of a “self-inflicted” wound. He was 62. Mere days before his death he had taken part in a formal deposition, in which provided evidence in a lawsuit against the company. He was supposed to appear again on Saturday, but when he didn’t show up, officials visited his hotel.

Barnett, who retired in 2017, had worked as a quality manager in a North Charleston plant that produced the 787 Dreamliner, which was mainly used on long-haul routes. He’d been public about the horrors he endured there. In 2019 he told the BBC that the push to get new aircraft built had led to a rushed assembly process that compromised safety.

Here are some of Barnett’s allegations, per the BBC:

He later told the BBC that workers had failed to follow procedures intended to track components through the factory, allowing defective components to go missing.

He said in some cases, sub-standard parts had even been removed from scrap bins and fitted to planes that were being built to prevent delays on the production line.

He also claimed that tests on emergency oxygen systems due to be fitted to the 787 showed a failure rate of 25%, meaning that one in four could fail to deploy in a real-life emergency.

Mr Barnett said he had alerted managers to his concerns, but no action had been taken.

Boeing always denied Barnett’s allegations, though a review by regulators in 2017 backed up some of his claims.

Barnett’s death comes amidst increasing worry about the safety of Boeing’s aircraft. Earlier this year an unused emergency exit door to an Alaska airline Boeing blew off shortly after take-off. Sunday, meanwhile, was the fifth anniversary of a fatal 737 Max crash that led to 157 casualties. John Oliver dedicated the better part of a recent episode of Last Week Tonight to Boeing’s fall from grace, which he blamed on a shift of leadership and a profit-over-safety mentality. They also got screwed over by no less than Donald Trump.

(Via BBC)