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2nd Boeing-Linked Whistleblower Dies

A whistleblower at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems died Tuesday morning following a struggle with a ‘sudden, fast-spreading infection,’ the Seattle Times reports.

45-year-old Joshua Dean, a former mechanical engineer and quality auditor from Wichita, Kansas, alleged that Spirit leadership ignored manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX, including ‘mechanics improperly drilling holes in the aft pressure bulkhead of the MAX.’ When he brought this up with management, he said that nothing was done about it. So he filed a safety complaint with the FAA – and said that Spirit had used him as a scapegoat while they lied to the agency about the defects.

“After I was fired, Spirit AeroSystems [initially] did nothing to inform the FAA, and the public” regarding the bulkhead defects, said Dean in his complaint.

In November, the FAA suggested to Dean in a letter that his claims had merit, writing “The investigation determined that your allegations were appropriately addressed under an FAA-approved safety program,” adding “However, due to the privacy provisions of those programs, specific details cannot be released.”

Dean also gave a deposition in a Spirit shareholder lawsuit.

The shareholder lawsuit alleging that Spirit management withheld information on the quality flaws and harmed stockholders was filed in December. Supporting the suit, Dean provided a deposition detailing his allegations.

After a panel blew off a Boeing 737 MAX plane in January, bringing new attention to the quality lapses at Spirit, one of Dean’s former Spirit colleagues confirmed some of Dean’s allegations. -Seattle Times

He had been in good health, and ‘was noted for having a healthy lifestyle,’ according to the report.

He had been in critical condition for two weeks, according to his aunt Carol Parsons, who said he became ill and went to the hospital due to breathing difficulties. He was intubated, after which he developed pneumonia and then MRSA, a serious bacterial infection.

His condition deteriorated rapidly, and he was airlifted from Wichita to a hospital in Oklahoma City, Parsons said. There he was put on an ECMO machine, which circulates and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, taking over heart and lung function when a patient’s organs don’t work on their own. -Seattle Times

Doctors had considered amputating both hands and both feet.

“It was brutal what he went through,” said Parsons. “Heartbreaking.”

Dean was fired in April 2023, after which he filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, alleging he had been terminated in retaliation for blowing the whistle.

He was represented by the South Carolina law firm that represented Boeing whistleblower John “Mitch” Barnett, who was found dead in an ‘apparent suicide’ in March in Charleston.

Barnett was in the middle of giving depositions suggesting that Boeing retaliated against him over complaints related to quality issues when he was found dead from a gunshot wound.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office reported Barnett’s death appeared to be “from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Almost two months later, the police investigation into his death is still ongoing. -Seattle Times

“Whistleblowers are needed. They bring to light wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. It takes a lot of courage to stand up,” said Brian Knowles, one of Dean’s lawyers. “It’s a difficult set of circumstances. Our thoughts now are with John’s family and Josh’s family.”

In March, Boeing was rumored to be in talks to buy Spirit, as both companies have come under increasing pressure from airline customers and federal regulators to shore up quality issues following a January 5th incident in which a door plug blew out mid-flight on a 737 MAX 9.

Four days later, United Airlines found “loose bolts” on 737 MAX doors following an emergency inspection.

READ 42 COMMENTS
  • Breadwoman says:

    The U.S. sounds more like the USSR everyday now! If the Govt doesn’t ‘like’ someone, they just ‘off’ them, so everything can keep running ‘as usual’. I’m so glad everyday that my WWII fighter pilot Dad isn’t here to see what we’ve done with the America they fought so hard to SAVE from Hitler… just so we could give the reins to Soros, and whoever else has freebies to offer. They just serve themselves.

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