Boeing Whistleblower Found Deceased After Testifying Of Negligence

A long-time Boeing employee and whistleblower was found dead in a hotel parking lot in Charleston on Saturday, just after testifying to lawyers about the company’s negligence in building safe aircraft.

John Barnett, 62, was pronounced dead by the coroner of a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound in his car. He had already given a formal deposition in which he was questioned by Boeing’s lawyers, as well as by his own lawyer, and was set to undergo further questioning on the day his body was discovered.

The questioning was part of an ongoing lawsuit against the company for failing to meet safety standards on newly built aircraft. He was staying at the hotel in Charleston for the interviews relative to the case.

A statement from Boeing reads, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.” Barnett’s lawyer called the death “tragic.”

The shocking turn of events comes after a recent aircraft incident in January when the door plug on a Boeing 737 for Alaska Airlines blew off while at 16,000 feet in the air. The terrifying incident left a huge open gap in the side of the airplane, which was forced to make an emergency landing. Fortunately, no lives were lost, but the event was a major embarrassment for Boeing and put a spotlight on how well the company truly meets its standards for safety.

Barnett claimed that workers under pressure ended up fitting newly built planes with substandard parts, in some cases being removed from scrap bins and put directly onto the aircrafts. He also claimed that tests on the emergency oxygen masks showed a failure rate of 25%. He maintained that although he had alerted management to the issues, no action had been taken to rectify the problems.

Boeing denied the allegations, but an independent analysis from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) validated Barnett’s claims, showing a number of parts on planes that did not conform to design, as well as malfunctioning oxygen masks.

After retiring from the company in 2017, Barnett continued his legal battle against the company. Although the coroner pronounced Barnett’s passing as “self-inflicted,” the nature and timing of it bring immediate suspicions from the public.