Former Boeing Whistleblower John Barnett Passes Away Following Testimony Against Company

In a tragic turn of events, John Barnett, a 62-year-old former Boeing employee, was discovered deceased in his truck, located in the parking area of a South Carolina hotel. This discovery was made after Barnett did not appear for the continuation of his crucial testimony in a groundbreaking lawsuit against Boeing, as reported on Monday.

Barnett, who had previously voiced safety concerns at Boeing’s manufacturing sites, had delivered the first part of his testimony just a few days prior to his death, which appeared to be a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to information provided by the Charleston County coroner to the BBC.

The circumstances surrounding Barnett’s death have raised questions, with his attorney, Brian Knowles, expressing skepticism about the initial ruling of suicide. Knowles shared his concerns with TMZ, referring to the gunshot wound as “alleged” and marking the day as profoundly sorrowful.

Knowles recounted to Corporate Crime Reporter the extensive preparation Barnett had undergone for his deposition in the whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing. He detailed how the defense had conducted a seven-hour examination of Barnett under the deposition rules.

Barnett had been staying at the hotel specifically to participate in the deposition related to the lawsuit. His legal team, upon not receiving responses to their calls to Barnett’s phone, requested the hotel staff to check on him. This led to the discovery of Barnett’s body in his truck, prompting immediate contact with the police and the coroner’s office.

Before retiring in 2017, Barnett had dedicated over three decades of his career to Boeing, working as a quality control engineer. In 2019, he brought to light concerns regarding Boeing’s safety compromises, particularly with the rushed production of its 787 Dreamliner jets, in an interview with the BBC.

Boeing has expressed its condolences over Barnett’s passing, stating, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.” This statement comes at a time when Boeing faces increased scrutiny over various safety issues, including an incident in January where a door plug detached during an Alaska Airline flight.

The loss of John Barnett under such circumstances is a poignant reminder of the complexities and pressures that can accompany whistleblower actions, especially in industries where safety is paramount.