Boeing whistleblower who raised safety concerns found dead

By Peter Vercoe | Bloomberg

A former Boeing Co. worker who raised concerns about the airplane maker’s production standards at its North Charleston 787 Dreamliner factory has been found dead, the BBC reported.

John Barnett, who worked at Boeing for 32 years until his retirement in 2017, died March 9 from a self-inflicted wound, the BBC said. His death was confirmed by the Charleston County Coroner, the report said.

In an emailed statement, Boeing said it was “saddened” to hear of Barnett’s death and the company’s thoughts “are with his family and friends.”

In the days before his death, Barnett had been giving evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing, the BBC said. He had been due to undergo further questioning on Saturday, and when he didn’t appear, inquiries were made at his hotel. He was subsequently found dead in his truck in the hotel car park, the report said.

In 2019, Barnett was cited in a New York Times story saying that the North Charleston factory, one of two plants that makes the 787 Dreamliner, had faced problems with production and oversight that created a safety threat. Faulty parts had been installed in some of the planes, and metal shavings were often left inside the jets, the NYT reported. Barnett said he found clusters of metal slivers hanging over the wiring that commands flight controls, the report said.