A former employee of Boeing who was well-known for questioning the company’s production standards has been discovered dead in the US

John Barnett retired from Boeing in 2017 after 32 years of service.

He had been providing testimony in a whistleblower case against the firm in the days preceding his passing.

Boeing expressed their sorrow at learning of Mr. Barnett’s demise. He passed away, the Charleston County coroner told the BBC on Monday.

It stated that authorities were looking into the 62-year-old’s death on March 9th from a “self-inflicted” wound.

Before retiring from the US aircraft company in 2017 because of health issues, Mr. Barnett had worked there for 32 years.

He began his career in 2010 as a quality manager at the North Charleston plant that produces the 787 Dreamliner, a cutting-edge aircraft primarily utilized for long-haul flights.

In 2019, Mr. Barnett revealed to the BBC that workers under duress had purposefully installed inferior parts on airplanes while they were in construction.
Additionally, he claimed to have discovered significant issues with oxygen systems, which may explain why one in four breathing masks would not function in an emergency.
He claimed that shortly after arriving in South Carolina for work, he started to worry that the corporation was denying that the urgency to build new airplanes meant that safety was being jeopardized during the assembly process.         

Subsequently, he told the BBC that staff had allowed defective components to disappear from the factory by not following processes meant to track them.

To avoid delays on the production line, he added that in certain instances, subpar parts had even been taken out of scrap bins and installed on newly constructed planes.

Additionally, he stated that tests on emergency oxygen systems that were supposed to be installed on the 787 revealed a failure rate of 25%, which means that one out of every four systems might not deploy in an actual emergency.

Mr. Barnett claimed that despite informing managers of his worries, nothing had been done about them.

Boeing refuted his claims. Nonetheless, some of Mr. Barnett’s concerns were supported by a 2017 study conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a US regulator.

It was determined that at least 53 “non-conforming” parts were lost and that no one knew where they were located in the factory. Boeing was mandated to implement corrective measures.

The company stated that it had “identified some oxygen bottles received from the supplier that were not deploying properly” in 2017 in reference to the oxygen cylinder problem. However, it refuted the claim that any of them were ever installed aboard a plane.

He started a protracted legal battle against the firm when he retired.

Later on, he was discovered dead in the hotel parking lot in his pickup.

According to his lawyer, his passing was “tragic” in an interview with the BBC.

Boeing released a statement saying, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

His passing occurs during a period of intensive scrutiny of production standards at Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems, a major supplier.


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