U.S. News


Boeing whistleblower found dead days after testifying against company

John Barnett, 62, had worked for Boeing for 32 years before retiring. He raised a number of concerns about the company's production standards.
Posted at 8:23 AM, Mar 12, 2024

A Boeing whistleblower who raised concerns about the company's production standards was found dead days after testifying against the company.

Sixty-two-year-old John Barnett of Louisiana had worked for Boeing for 32 years before retiring in 2017 because of his health, according to the BBC. In the lead-up to his death, he had been giving evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the aircraft giant.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office in South Carolina told Scripps News that Barnett died on March 9 of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was found dead in his truck in a hotel parking lot.

In a statement to Scripps News, Boeing said, "We are saddened by Mr. Barnett's passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends."

In 2019, Barnett had spoken out about a number of issues with the aircraft production company to the BBC. He claimed workers under pressure were deliberately putting substandard parts on planes, saying in some cases parts had even been brought back from scrap bins and fitted to planes to prevent delays.

He also found serious issues with oxygen systems, which could mean 1 in 4 breathing masks wouldn't work in an emergency, BBC said.

Barnett told the BBC that the push to get planes built rushed processes and compromised safety, a claim Boeing denied.

The former Boeing employee said he shared concerns with managers who did not follow up.

After retiring, Barnett began engaging in legal battles against the company.

At the time of his passing, Barnett had been in South Carolina for legal interviews, the BBC said.

Authorities are investigating his death.

Scripps News has reached out to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the Charleston County Coroner's Office for more information.