Boeing Whistleblower Discovered Deceased Amidst Legal Battle With Aerospace Giant

John Barnett, a former Boeing employee turned whistleblower, tragically passed away on March 9 at the age of 62, under circumstances that police have identified as a self-inflicted injury. Before his untimely demise, Barnett had been actively participating in a whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing, offering critical evidence. Having dedicated over three decades of his career to Boeing, Barnett retired in 2017 due to health concerns.

During his tenure from 2010 at Boeing’s North Charleston plant, where the cutting-edge 787 Dreamliner is manufactured, Barnett raised alarms over significant safety concerns. In a revealing conversation with the BBC in 2019, he disclosed that the pressure on workers led to the intentional use of subpar parts in aircraft production. More alarmingly, Barnett uncovered that a quarter of the emergency oxygen systems onboard the 787 Dreamliner might fail during emergencies, a critical safety hazard he promptly reported to senior management.

Despite his findings, Boeing refuted Barnett’s claims. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2017 acknowledged the validity of some of his concerns, revealing the misplacement of at least 53 non-conforming parts within the factory and mandating Boeing to undertake corrective measures.

At the time of his passing, Barnett was in Charleston and had recently provided a formal deposition. He was discovered deceased in his truck, parked outside the hotel where he was staying. His passing has been described as “tragic” by his attorney, while Boeing extended their condolences to his bereaved family and friends, expressing sorrow over his death.

In addition to his impactful career and the circumstances surrounding his passing, Barnett’s story is a poignant reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by individuals who dare to speak out in the pursuit of safety and integrity within the aerospace industry.