Pressure mounts as more Boeing whistleblowers step forward following suicide

Pressure mounts as more Boeing whistleblowers step forward following suicide

Whistleblowers at Boeing and one of its subcontractors continue to voice their concerns about airplane safety in the wake of the unexpected deaths of two of their colleagues who had also gone public.

At least three have come forward publicly so far. Others are weighing the risks of adding their voices with concerns over the production of civilian and military aircraft.

In a statement, Boeing said the allegations were not new and that it takes all claims of improper work or unethical behavior "very seriously."

"We continuously encourage employees to report concerns as our priority is to ensure the safety of our airplanes and the flying public, and we will take any necessary action to ensure our airplanes meet regulatory requirements," a company spokesperson told Fox news Digital. "Boeing employees can anonymously report concerns through our Speak Up portal or directly to the FAA."

BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN BARNETT'S LAWYERS BLAME SUICIDE ON COMPANY AS NOTE REVEALED

plastic covers the exterior of the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX

Two whistleblowers died earlier this year in unrelated incidents after speaking out against the aerospace giant.

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John Barnett, 62, shot himself in the head in his truck shortly after giving deposition testimony in his whistleblower lawsuit against the company, according to police in Charleston, South Carolina.

And Joshua Dean, 44, died last month after contracting an antibiotic-resistant infection that destroyed his lungs. He worked at Spirit AeroSystems, one of Boeing's suppliers.

Dean lost his job in 2023 and filed a retaliation complaint with federal labor officials, alleging that he was only fired for speaking out. He had been deposed in connection with a shareholder lawsuit and had reported dangerous faults in components of Boeing’s 737 MAX plane — a model linked to a number of catastrophes in recent years.

BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER FROM KANSAS IS 2ND TO DIE IN 2 MONTHS

a view of the fuselage and one of the engines of a Boeing 777-9 jetliner
This picture taken on Nov. 13, 2023 shows a view of the fuselage and one of the engines of a Boeing 777-9 jetliner aircraft on the tarmac during the 2023 Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central - Al-Maktoum International Airport in Dubai.

Attorneys Brian Knowles and Rob Turkewitz, who represent a number of current and former Boeing employees who have come forward in recent months, have praised their clients for speaking out.

Santiago Paredes, another Spirit AeroSystems employee, told "Fox & Friends First" last month that his superiors pressured him to "falsify information" about defects in 737 aircraft. In another interview, he told the New York Post he faced pushback on hundreds of issues including missing or damaged parts and incomplete frame assemblies.

Spirit AeroSystems has disputed Paredes' claims.

BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN BARNETT'S CAUSE OF DEATH REVEALED AS CORONER RELEASES OFFICIAL FINDINGS

And Roy Irvin, who worked with Barnett at the South Carolina plant, told the Post that he found problems on a near-daily basis, including missing safety devices and loose bolts.

"If the fastener is not secured correctly, it’s going to fall off and you’re not gonna be able to control the airplane," he told the paper.

Boeing acknowledged Wednesday that it had received and addressed multiple reports from Irvin.

BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN BARNETT WAS SPIED ON, HARASSED BY MANAGERS, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

Another whistleblower, Boeing engineer Martin Bickeboller, had two complaints substantiated by the Federal Aviation Administration going back to 2014, according to the Seattle Times. He filed a new one in January alleging the company had failed to make government-ordered fixes.

Before his death, Barnett said he had learned of the issue while working at Boeing's North Charleston plant in 2010 and claimed to have raised the issue with management, but to no avail. Instead of tackling the issue, his lawyers allege, the company retaliated against him and subjected him to a hostile work environment, leading to the lawsuit for which he was being deposed.

Boeing plane under construction at Charleston plant
Boeing 787 Dreamliners are built at the aviation company's North Charleston, South Carolina, assembly plant on May 30, 2023. The plant is located on the grounds of the joint-use Charleston Air Force Base and Charleston International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration reviewed Boeing in 2017, corroborated some of Barnett's allegations and ordered the company to take action. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened its own investigation last month, and the National Transportation Safety Board is looking into individual incidents, including one in January where a 737-9 Max door blew open mid-flight.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker met with a Senate committee last week to discuss Boeing's ongoing struggles. The government has asked Boeing to increase supplier oversight, including adding safety inspectors to Spirit AeroSystems facilities, and internal audits, among other fixes.

"On the FAA’s part, we will make sure they do and that their fixes are effective," he said in a statement afterward. "This does not mark the end of our increased oversight of Boeing and its suppliers, but it sets a new standard of how Boeing does business."

He met separately with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun.

"I made clear once again that we need to see a strong and unwavering commitment to safety, which must always come first," Whitaker said. "Systemic change isn't easy but in this case is absolutely necessary, and the work is never really done when it comes to the safety of the flying public – from Boeing, airlines, or the FAA."

Calhoun previously announced that he would step down at the end of the year. Other executives, including the head of the 737 Max program, and board members are also leaving the company amid the fallout.


Original article source: Pressure mounts as more Boeing whistleblowers step forward following suicide