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Video: Boeing whistleblower found dead after testifying against company

Boeing 737 MAX. (Boeing/Released)
March 12, 2024

A Boeing whistleblower was found dead Saturday inside his truck outside a hotel in South Carolina before completing his testimony in a major lawsuit against the airplane manufacturer.

The Charleston County coroner told the BBC that 62-year-old John Barnett shared the first part of his testimony regarding significant safety concerns at Boeing’s manufacturing facilities just days prior to his death from a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound.

According to the BBC, Barnett worked as a quality control engineer for over 30 years at Boeing prior to his retirement in 2017. Barnett told the BBC in 2019 that the airplane manufacturer had compromised safety standards and used low-quality parts in order to quickly produce the Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets.

Barnett also accused Boeing of having ineffective emergency oxygen systems for the 787 aircraft, which resulted in a failure rate of 25%. Barnett claimed that while he relayed the safety concerns to company managers, Boeing did not take any action regarding his concerns.

The BBC reported that despite Boeing’s denial of Barnett’s claims, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review of the company in 2017 confirmed some of Barnett’s safety concerns.

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Following the discovery of Barnett’s recent death, Brian Knowles, Barnett’s lawyer, released a statement to the Corporate Crime Reporter that highlighted the timing of his death.

“Today is a tragic day,” Knowles wrote. “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.”

Knowles explained that he cross-examined Barnett on Friday and was planning to finish the examination on Saturday; however, Barnett did not show up at the court hearing. Knowles said the hotel Barnett was staying at was eventually asked to check on the whistleblower.

“They found him in his truck dead from an ‘alleged’ self-inflicted gunshot,” he added. “We drove to the hotel and spoke with the police and the coroner.”

A video shared by Collin Rugg, co-owner of Trending Politics, reveals some of the concerns Barnett had with Boeing’s alleged compromise of safety standards for faster production of certain aircraft models.

Barnett said that recent issues with Boeing’s aircraft reflect the ongoing problems he allegedly witnessed at the company. He claimed that certain jobs were not completed correctly, critical inspection steps were removed, and issues were ignored.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, Boeing acknowledged Barnett’s recent death and offered condolences to his family, saying, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.