Second Boeing Whistleblower Dies Suddenly

( – Aerospace company Boeing has been under scrutiny for quite a while after some safety issues cropped up on some of their planes. In the past few months, whistleblowers have come forward, saying that the company was allegedly cutting corners when it came to the manufacturing process, and they were worried about the integrity of the aircraft and the safety of passengers. In early March, whistleblower John Barnett was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Now, another man who came forward has died.

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Spirit AeroSystems, a Boeing supplier, died suddenly following a fast-spreading infection, according to a statement released by his family on Tuesday. He was 45.

Spirit builds the majority of the 737 Max for the aerospace company, and Dean had been worried about engineering problems detected in the airliner fuselages. He spoke up in 2022, noting that there were misdrilled holes in a section of the plane that’s critical for maintaining cabin pressure. Boeing acknowledged the issue the following year, issuing a statement that it was “not an immediate safety issue,” but that it planned to fix all of the errors before delivery, which was set back due to the need to repair those affected. The company’s stock price plummeted 10% following the news.

In April 2023, Spirit terminated Dean, who said the company was retaliating against him for speaking out. He subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Labor for his termination and the Federal Aviation Administration about the misdrilled holes.

Last December, Spirit shareholders sued the company for failing to disclose “severe and persistent” quality issues. Dean provided a deposition in the case, but he was not among those suing the supplier.

Dean’s death, so close to that of Barnett’s, who also claims he was retaliated against, is raising questions about the untimely nature of their deaths and the fact that they were both whistleblowers involved in two separate lawsuits against Boeing and Spirit.

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