Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead From Alleged Self-Inflicted Means

By Brian Myers | Published

John Barnett, a 30+ year Boeing employee who recently testified to federal officials about alleged wrongdoings by the airplane manufacturer, was found dead on March 9 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Barnett’s body was found in his pickup truck parked in the lot of a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Boeing retiree was staying amid depositions to attorneys in a case against his former employer. His death is just the latest in a series of events that puts the company under a giant microscope of scrutiny.

Boeing’s Safety Compliances Called Into Question

Boeing’s woes surfaced earlier this year when an emergency exit door blew open mid-flight on a recently constructed Boeing 737 Max shortly after it took off from Portland International Airport. The initial report from the US National Transportation Safety Board¬†revealed that four ill-fitting bolts designed to hold the door in place caused the door to fall off. This prompted an intensive investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration into Boeing, where it was found that the company had multiple instances of failing to comply with safety standards.

Whistleblower Says Boeing Forced Workers To Use Defective Parts

According to Barnett’s testimony, Boeing had committed a myriad of safety violations in the production of multiple styles of aircraft. As a quality manager at the Boeing plant in North Charleston in 2010, Barnett alleged that he and other workers were pressured by management to use substandard and defective parts in the production of the 787 Dreamliner. But the allegations Barnett made against Boeing don’t end there.

Boeing Reportedly Knew Oxygen Masks Didn’t Work

In one particularly disturbing accusation against Boeing, Barnett stated to attorneys in his deposition that the emergency oxygen masks on board had an alarming fail rate in testing. The retiree stated that one in four of the masks would not function if they were needed during a flight, putting scores of lives in serious jeopardy every trip. Barnett attributes this failure, among others, to the rushed rate of production employees were pressured by management to maintain.

Additionally, Barnett said that Boeing employees failed to track defective plane parts as they were identified along assembly lines. This led to many of the parts identified as unusable to go missing, and later end up being used during production. Parts that had been identified as defective and dumped into scrap bins were also put back into use as the pressure to produce was amplified by management.

Barnett’s Allegations Have Credit

maggot plane

Since his retirement in 2017, Barnett had made it his mission to expose what he asserts is willful negligence on the part of Boeing. While Boeing denies the allegations that their former employee has publicly made against it, a previous FAA investigation into the manufacturer showed that more than 50 “non-conforming” parts were unaccounted for, perhaps giving Barnett’s story of these parts being unlawfully used some credence. Boeing was forced to remedy the violations by the regulatory agency before it could create other dangers for passengers.

Barnett’s Death Is Under Investigation

Boeing, as well as one of its key suppliers, remains under intense scrutiny by the FAA and the public. The death of Barnett is an ongoing investigation by local authorities in Charleston and halts his testimony against Boeing. Barnett had been scheduled to resume depositions the day he was found dead.

Source: BBC News