Whistleblower at key Boeing supplier dies after sudden illness

Whistleblower at key Boeing supplier dies after sudden illness

A whistleblower who identified engineering problems at the company that supplied Boeing with airliner fuselages died on Monday, CBS News has learned, after suffering from a fast-spreading infection. 

Joshua Dean was a quality inspector at Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the bulk of the 737 Max for Boeing. Dean raised concerns in October 2022 about misdrilled holes on a rear section of the plane that is necessary to maintain cabin pressure during flight. 

Attorneys for Dean confirmed his death. He was 45. 

The Seattle Times first reported Dean’s death. Dean’s aunt told the publication that her nephew went to the hospital for breathing issues a few weeks ago, developed pneumonia, and then suffered a serious bacterial infection. 

Dean’s death comes weeks after another Boeing whistleblower, John Barnett, a former quality manager for the company, died in what the coroner said was apparent suicide. Barnett was in Charleston, South Carolina, at the time of his death, giving testimony about the factory that builds the 787 Dreamliner. He resigned from the company in 2017, citing job-related stress.

In the 2022 Netflix documentary “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” Barnett claimed his managers retaliated against him for speaking up. Boeing said it addressed the issues he had raised before he left the company. 

In March, John Barnett’s family spoke to CBS News. When asked if they place some of the blame for his death on Boeing, his mother Vicky Stokes said “if this hadn’t gone on so long, I’d still have my son, and my sons would have their brother and we wouldn’t be sitting here. So in that respect, I do.”

Michael Kaplan

Source: cbsnews.com