Home News Boeing whistleblower found dead amid lawsuit

Boeing whistleblower found dead amid lawsuit

Boeing whistleblower found dead amid lawsuit

John Barnett was due to appear in court on Saturday for questioning but failed to appear

A former Boeing employee has been found dead in the US as he was due to testify in a trial against his former employer, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The American aerospace giant’s manufacturing standards in the US and around the world have recently come under increased scrutiny after a door burst mid-air on one of its planes in January.

A 62-year-old former Boeing quality manager was found dead in his car in a hotel parking lot — seven years after he retired from a 32-year career at Boeing. In the days before his death, he filed a formal resignation in a lawsuit against the company.

The local coroner confirmed Barnett’s death to the BBC, saying he died of a self-inflicted injury on March 9. A police investigation is ongoing.

In 2019, Barnett told the BBC that he had seen Boeing employees being pushed to deliberately fit non-standard parts into planes to cope with increased demands.

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He said he discovered problems with the oxygen systems in 2016 during his tenure as quality manager, when up to a quarter of the respirators were not properly fitted during emergency scenario testing.

Failure to follow factory procedures resulted in some parts disappearing, sometimes with non-conforming parts being taken from waste bins and fitted to planes on the production line to avoid delays, he told the news corporation.

According to Barnett, his management complaints did not result in any action being taken. Boeing denied the whistleblower’s claims, admitting that some of the oxygen cylinders were defective, but asserting that none were installed on their aircraft.

Reviews conducted in 2017 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found that 53 non-conforming parts were off-record at the factory.

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After his retirement in 2017, Barnett took on his former employer in a long-running legal action, accusing the company of defaming his character and stunting his career because of issues he had raised – allegations Boeing has denied.

An FAA audit of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, prompted by the January 737 MAX-9 door rupture incident, released last Monday, “Identified Non-Compliance Issues in Boeing’s Manufacturing Process Control, Parts Handling and Storage, and Product Inspection.”

In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 passengers and crew. The incident comes five months after the Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. The tragedies led to a 20-month grounding of the corporate line of 737 MAX aircraft.