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Boeing whistleblower found dead days after testifying in lawsuit against the company

Boeing whistleblower found dead days after testifying in lawsuit against the company

John Barnett was found dead on March 9.

Boeing whistleblower John Barnett has been found dead just days after testifying against the company.

Barnett had worked for the popular airline for over three decades and, following his retirement, he expressed safety concerns about Boeing's production standards.

The 62-year-old had been a Boeing quality manager making the 787 Dreamliner at the North Charleston plant in South Carolina from 2010 up until his retirement in 2017.

It was in 2019 when he decided to speak out about workers feeling pressured to fit sub-standard parts to aircraft on the production line.

One major concern of Barnett's was the oxygen masks on the plane. He claimed to have uncovered series issues with the oxygen systems that could lead to one in four masks not working on the plane in an emergency situation, BBC News reports.

Barnett had been giving evidence during a lawsuit against the firm in recent days, but was found dead in his car on Saturday (March 9).

The late Boeing employee was found in his truck in the parking lot of his South Carolina hotel where he'd been staying during the legal proceedings.

Alarm bells were raised when Barnett failed to turn up for the second part of his testimony.

There have been safety concerns regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in particular.
STR/AFP via Getty Images

According to the Charleston County coroner, Barnett died from a 'self-inflicted' wound believed to have been caused by gunshot.

In the wake of his death, Boeing said in a statement: "We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Elsewhere, his attorney, Brian Knowles, labelled his passing as 'tragic'.

"Today is a tragic day," he said, as per Corporate Crime Reporter. "John had been back and forth for quite some time getting prepared. The defense examined him for their allowed seven hours under the rules on Thursday.

"I cross examined him all day yesterday [Friday, March 8] and did not finish. We agreed to continue this morning at 10 a.m. Rob [Turkewitz] kept calling this morning and his phone would go to voicemail.

"We then asked the hotel to check on him. They found him in his truck dead from an ‘alleged’ self-inflicted gunshot. We drove to the hotel and spoke with the police and the coroner."

John Barnett is said to have died by 'self-inflicted' wounds.
Fox 11

Barnett's testimony came after part of a Boeing plane blew off mid-flight in January.

The Alaska Airline plane's plug door (a panel fitted to replace an emergency door in some versions of the 737 Max 9) detached from the main body of the plane shortly after takeoff.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) went on to launch an investigation into the incident.

More recently, passengers on a LATAM Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight were left injured after experiencing 'a strong movement' during a three-hour journey.

It was described as the 'worst turbulence you could ever think of'.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in mental health crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 or chat You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix/ SILVIO AVILA/AFP via Getty Images

Topics: News, US News