Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

by Anthony Losanno
John Barnett

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A 62-year-old, former Boeing employee who raised concerns around production standards was found dead from a “self-inflicted” wound on March 9th. John Barnett worked for the aircraft manufacturer as a quality manager for 32 years before retiring in 2017.

Oxygen Mask

In 2010, he began working in the North Charleston Boeing plant where the 787 Dreamliner was produced. He revealed years later to the BBC that workers were pressured to fit substandard parts on the aircraft production line. He also recounted serious issues with the oxygen systems (and said that as many as one in four would not work in an emergency).

The pace with which aircraft were assembled in South Carolina concerned him since he felt safety was compromised when the aircraft were assembled so speedily. Mr. Barnett said that he informed his managers, but no action was taken. Boeing denied his allegations even after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) upheld some of his concerns.

According to the BBC, the FAA found that at least 53 “non-conforming” parts were missing from the factory. Mr. Barnett retired and pursued legal action against the company on the grounds that it had denigrated his character and hampered his career over the issues that he had brought to light.

Mr. Barnett can be heard expressing his concerns to TMZ in the video above. Last week, he was in Charleston for legal interviews linked to his case. He had been deposed by both Boeing’s lawyers and his own. Barnett was scheduled to return to court this past Saturday. When he did not show, the hotel was contacted and he was found dead in his truck in the hotel parking lot from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Barnett’s attorneys were stunned by the apparent suicide and commented:

John was in the midst of a deposition in his whistleblower retaliation case, which finally was nearing the end. He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on. We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it.”

Anthony’s Take: Boeing has a lot to deal with these days and this just added another wrinkle at least in the court of public perception. It’s sad that this man took his own life, but hopefully he’ll shed some light if there are the issues that he claims.

(Featured Image Credit: BBC.)

(Image Credit: tonefotografia.)

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derek March 11, 2024 - 8:23 pm

I would not be surprised if the lawyers badgered him during the deposition, which was scheduled to go into a second day. They might even have forced him to confess to something not related, maybe porn watching or something like that.

Anna March 11, 2024 - 9:46 pm

How do you know he took his own life, Anthony? There isn’t many details in any of the reports I can find other than “he took his own life.” Someone needs to question.

Ford March 11, 2024 - 10:29 pm

Goes through the depositions and all of this and then decides to give up? That’s not how people work that care enough to sacrifice everything for what is right, while possible, it’s just if not more likely it was staged by some of the richest, and clearly awful people who don’t care about human life running Boeing.


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