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Boeing whistleblower reportedly dies from a 'sudden, fast-spreading' illness

The whistleblower had filed a complaint with the FAA citing "serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737 production line."
Boeing facility
Posted at 2:07 PM, May 02, 2024

A Boeing whistleblower has died from what has been described as a “sudden” and “fast-spreading” illness.

According to a report by The Seattle Times, Josh Dean, a former quality auditor at Spirit AeroSystems, a Boeing supplier, passed away on Tuesday. After experiencing breathing difficulties, he was reportedly admitted to the hospital and shortly after he was put on a ECMO machine before he passed away. He was 45 years old.

Fox59 reported that he had been diagnosed with Influenza B and MRSA. He was believed to have been in good health before his sudden illness, which tragically led to his death within just two weeks.

According to the reports, in 2022, Dean had filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration stating that there was "serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737 production line," and claimed that "Spirit had used him as a scapegoat and had lied to the FAA about the aft pressure bulkhead defects." Spirit reportedly fired him in 2023 only a few months after the complaints. Dean filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, alleging his termination was retaliation for raising aviation safety concerns.

In a statement to the Seattle Sun Times, a spokesperson for Spirit said, "Our thoughts are with Josh Dean’s family. This sudden loss is stunning news here and for his loved ones.”

Dean is the second Boeing whistleblower to die this year. In March, 62-year-old John Barnett, who raised concerns about the company's production standards, was found dead days after testifying against the company. Barnett's apparent cause of death was reported to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Barnett said there were safety issues with the manufacturing giant. He alleged that Boeing used scrap parts in its planes, and that the planes had serious issues with the oxygen systems.

"He was deeply concerned about the safety of the aircraft and flying public, and had identified some serious defects that he felt were not adequately addressed," Barnett's family said in a statement to The Daily Beast. "He said that Boeing had a culture of concealment and was putting profits over safety."

Dean and Barnett were being represented by the same law firm, according to the Seattle Times. In a statement to the publication, one of Dean's lawyers offered no speculation about the timing of the deaths, stating, "It’s a difficult set of circumstances. Our thoughts now are with John’s family and Josh’s family.”

Boeing, America's largest plane manufacturer, has been in the spotlight for several years now due to various safety concerns.

More recently, a panel flew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner during flight in January, and last month whistleblowers claimed there were ongoing manufacturing errors at the company and even accused them of covering up crucial documents related to the blowout of the door plug.