Boeing whistleblower dies following a brief illness, weeks after the suicide of another

An aviation worker — who went public with security issues and alleged retaliation by his employer — has died following a brief sickness, weeks after another Boeing whistleblower’s dying, attorneys who represented each males stated Thursday.

Joshua Dean, 45, of Wichita, Kansas, died Tuesday after he obtained a number of diagnoses that included the flu, pneumonia and MRSA, prompting his household to hunt an post-mortem, lawyer Robert Turkewitz stated.

“He was a healthy individual who ate well and exercised,” Turkewitz informed NBC News. “So it just seems odd that he went so fast.”

Dean had been sick for 2 weeks and had been struggling to breathe, forcing him to be placed on a ventilator.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh and his family,” said a statement from Brian Knowles. another attorney representing Dean. “Josh’s passing is a loss to the aviation community and the flying public. He possessed tremendous courage to stand up for what he felt was true and right and raised quality and safety issues.”

Turkewitz and Knowles had also represented John Barnett, a 62-year-old Louisiana man, who died March 9 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Charleston, South Carolina, officials said.

Barnett was in town for a deposition in his federal legal action against Boeing, with his case set to go before an administrative law judge later this year, his attorneys said.

Barnett, who spent more than three decades at Boeing, told aviation authorities in 2017 about what he said were potentially “catastrophic” security failings with the 787 Dreamliner.

Dean was a former high quality auditor at Boeing provider Spirit AeroSystems and he alleged that managers did not act on manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX planes.

Though he was not a plaintiff, he’s talked about in a 2023 shareholder lawsuit in opposition to Spirit.

The “mis-drilled holes” in the rear bulkhead of the MAX planes were reported by Dean, who submitted “formal written findings to his supervisor” but Spirit “hid the defect,” according to the lawsuit. Those holes may create cracks and threaten an plane’s structural integrity.

“Now, I’m not saying they don’t need you to go on the market and examine a job. You know, they do,” he informed NPR this 12 months. “But should you make an excessive amount of bother, you’ll get the Josh therapy. You will get what occurred to me.”

Dean was let go from the company April 26, 2023, in what he called an act of retaliation.

“I feel they had been sending out a message to anyone else,” Dean said. “If you might be too loud, we’ll silence you.”

Spirit said in a statement that it is mourning Dean’s passing, but declined to comment on his accusations. The supplier previously told NPR that it strongly disagrees with the allegations in the suit and is fighting the case in court.

“Our ideas are with Josh Dean’s household,” Spirit spokesperson Joe Buccino said in the statement. “This sudden loss is gorgeous information right here at Spirit and for his family members.”

The stress of the past few years could have taken a toll on Dean, Turkewitz said.

“We had been informed that stress may cause the immune system to weaken and makes you extra prone to pneumonia, the flu and MRSA,” he said. “He’d been beneath a lot of stress for blowing the whistle and being terminated, he believed, as a consequence of blowing the whistle. He’d been attempting to get the phrase out and nobody would pay attention.”

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