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Second Boeing Whistleblower Dies Suddenly

A former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems who was among the first whistleblowers to allege Spirit leadership had ignored manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX died Tuesday.

Joshua Dean lost his life after a struggle with a sudden, fast-spreading infection, the Seattle Times reports.

He was aged 45 and reportedly in good health before his sudden demise after a two week fight for life in hospital.

The Times report details Dean’s role in the allegations against Boeing:

Dean had given a deposition in a Spirit shareholder lawsuit and also filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration alleging “serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737 production line” at Spirit.
Spirit fired Dean in April 2023, and he had filed a complaint with the Department of Labor alleging his termination was in retaliation for raising concerns related to aviation safety.

Dean told U.S. outlet NPR in February he believed he had been fired to send a message to others thinking of speaking out.

“If you are too loud, we will silence you,” he was quoted as saying.

Dean was represented by a law firm in South Carolina that also represented Boeing whistleblower John “Mitch” Barnett, the Times report sets out.

The 62-year-old was found dead in an apparent suicide in March.

He was in the midst of giving depositions alleging Boeing retaliated against him for complaints about quality lapses when he was found dead from a gunshot wound in Charleston, S.C., where Boeing has its 787 manufacturing facility.

Barnett had retired from the company in 2017 for health reasons after working with Boeing for 32 years.

After parting ways, he embarked on a long-running legal action against the company that was still ongoing up until his death.

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