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A 2nd whistleblower dies suddenly in the Boeing case
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Two whistleblowers associated with Boeing, who had voiced strong criticism of the company’s business practices and raised safety and negligence concerns, died tragically within weeks of each other.

Joshua Dean, 45, a former quality auditor at Spirit AeroSystems, one of Boeing’s major suppliers, recently died of a fulminant and unknown illness.

He worked for Spirit AeroSystems in 2019.

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He had raised safety concerns that he felt were neglected during the production of the Boeing 737 MAX. According to various reports, Dean’s concerns included improperly drilled holes in certain bulkheads of components used for the 737 Max.

Dean was fired less than a month before his death, a move he interpreted as retaliation for his criticism. He also saw himself as a scapegoat used by the company to hide production defects. His health deteriorated rapidly after he was admitted to hospital with respiratory problems.

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John Barnett, another ex-Boeing employee who had strongly criticized the company’s business practices, died suddenly in what is suspected to have been a suicide. His death came a few weeks before Dean’s.

Barnett was discovered dead in his car, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while testifying against Boeing. Several weeks before his death, he had expressed concerns about what he perceived as retaliation after exposing faulty production practices at Boeing South Carolina, particularly in relation to the 787 Dreamliner.

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The deaths have caused deep concern among members of the aviation community and critics alike, who fear they could deter future whistleblowers.

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