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Boeing Whistleblower Joshua Dean Dies After Short Illness, Second Whistleblower to Pass Away This Year

Another Boeing whistleblower who raised concerns about manufacturing defects in plane maker’s 737 Max aircraft has died after brief illness.

Joshua Dean, a Boeing whistleblower who raised concerns about manufacturing defects in the plane maker’s 737 Max aircraft, has sadly died after a brief illness, becoming the second Boeing whistleblower to pass away this year.

Dean, aged 45, formerly served as a quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems. He lodged a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alleging “serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737-production line” at Spirit.

His actions came in the wake of two fatal crashes involving 737 Max planes in 2018 and 2019, resulting in the deaths of 346 individuals. Dean faced termination from Spirit last year and subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, contending that his dismissal was in retaliation for raising safety concerns.

Reports indicate that Dean was hospitalised after experiencing respiratory difficulties. Despite medical intervention, including intubation, he succumbed to pneumonia and a severe infection two weeks later.

Carol Dean Parsons, Dean’s aunt, conveyed the heartbreaking news via Facebook, saying, “He passed away yesterday morning, and his absence will be deeply felt. We will always love you Josh.”

Dean was represented by the same legal team as Boeing whistleblower John “Mitch” Barnett.

Barnett, aged 62, was discovered deceased in March, with evidence suggesting a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Having spent nearly three decades at Boeing, Barnett had disclosed to the New York Times in 2019 that he had discovered “clusters of metal slivers” near the wiring of flight controls, posing a potential risk of “catastrophic” damage. He alleged that his concerns were disregarded by management, who subsequently relocated him within the facility.

Last month, another Boeing whistleblower, Sam Salehpour, testified before Congress, highlighting a lack of safety culture within Boeing. Salehpour claimed that employees who raised alarms were “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse,” expressing fears of “physical violence” after disclosing his concerns publicly.

Amidst these revelations, US regulators are conducting an inquiry into Boeing following a mid-air door-panel blowout in January involving a Boeing 737 Max 9. Additionally, it was reported last month that the Justice Department is assessing whether Boeing breached an agreement shielding it from criminal prosecution over the 2018 and 2019 crashes.

Chioma Kalu

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