Airline industry

Twist after Boeing whistleblower’s sudden death in middle of lawsuit

Author: Editors Desk Source: News Corp Australia Network:
March 13, 2024 at 06:42

Lawyers representing the man who exposed the dodgy dealings with Boeing are calling for a full investigation into his sudden death.

The lawyers representing a Boeing whistleblower who was found dead on the day he was due to testify against the jetliner giant are questioning whether he actually took his own life in a South Carolina carpark — and calling for an investigation.

“We need more information about what happened to John,” lawyer Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, who represent former Boeing manager John Barnett, said in a statement on Tuesday, as reported by the New York Post.

“The Charleston police need to investigate this fully and accurately and tell the public.

“We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life,” they added. “No one can believe it.”

“No detail can be left unturned.”
 

John Barnett, a Boeing whistleblower, was found dead in his car.
John Barnett, a Boeing whistleblower, was found dead in his car.


Barnett, 62, was due in court for further testimony in a bombshell lawsuit against the company when he was found dead, with the Charleston County coroner ruling the cause as a “self-inflicted” wound.

Barnett was a quality control engineer who worked for the airline for more than three decades before he retired in 2017 — and two years later told the BBC that Boeing cut corners by rushing to get its 787 Dreamliner jets off the production line and into service.

Turkewitz and Knowles said he was also “in very good spirits” as he prepared to give a deposition against the company on Monday.

“John was in the midst of a deposition in his whistleblower case, which finally was nearing the end,” the lawyers said. “He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on.”
 

Mr Barnett worked for Boeing for more than three decades. Picture: Roslan RAHMAN / AFP.
Mr Barnett worked for Boeing for more than three decades. Picture: Roslan RAHMAN / AFP.


Charleston police are investigating the circumstances of Barnett’s death.

A statement from the police department said officers had been called to perform a welfare check on Saturday morning and “discovered a male inside a vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.”

Barnett was found in his orange truck with a silver handgun in his hand and finger still on the trigger, according to DailyMail.com, citing a separate police report.

The outlet also noted Barnett’s gunshot wound was near his right temple and there was a white piece of paper also on view in the car, which appeared to be a suicide note.

Reached for comment, officials at Boeing would only say the company is “saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing and our thoughts are with his family.”

The aeroplane manufacturer has been under fire of late due to a series of mishaps with the company’s planes, including a malfunction on an Alaska Airlines flight in January that saw the door fly off in mid-air.
 

Boeing is under scrutiny following a spate of issues for the manufacturer. Picture: Daniel SLIM / AFP.
Boeing is under scrutiny following a spate of issues for the manufacturer. Picture: Daniel SLIM / AFP.


Federal Aviation Administration inspectors found that Boeing failed 33 out of 89 product audits — a review of specific aspects in the production line — with a total of 97 counts of alleged noncompliance. Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the body of the 737 Max jets, failed seven out of 13 product audits. One of its noted failures had to do with the installation of the aircraft’s door plug.

The company has 90 days to develop a comprehensive plan of action to address the “systemic quality-control issues” raised by the audit.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the horrifying door panel blow-out and the Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into Boeing.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission

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