Boeing whistle-blower found dead following testimony

62-YEAR-OLD WHISTLE-BLOWER John Barnett found deceased and was reported having a “self-afflicting wound.” (IndiaToday)

Nicolle Generaux | Editor-in-Chief

March 14, 2024

Former Boeing quality inspector John Barnett was found dead in his car a day after testifying in a deposition regarding alleged safety concerns of Boeing plants and their means of production. Officials in Charleston, South Carolina recount discovering Barnett with “what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound” in a Holiday Inn parking lot. Despite this report, Barnett’s lawyers insist that police continue investigating into this incident. Charleston is still awaiting an official cause of death and continues to look into the unusual circumstances of the supposed suicide. 

“Boeing seemed like they had a lot to lose,” commented senior Samantha Mitchell. “It’s probable that they are greedy and would rather get rid of someone than lose their company.”

John Barnett worked for a Boeing Plant as a quality control manager for over three decades, and became a whistle-blower after retiring in 2017 when he claimed that Boeing’s commercial airplanes were unfit for flight. Barnett complained that despite numerous attempts from himself and other inspectors to warn Boeing that their products were not up to legal standard, management consistently ignored them or brushed their complaints under the rug. Barnett also stated that Boeing “upper management was pressuring the quality inspectors and managers to cut corners” and not report or document defects because it would slow down the production of planes. He even went as far as to declare that he hadn’t “seen a plane out of Charleston yet that [he’d] put [his] name on saying it’s safe and airworthy.” 

BOEING 737 DOOR FLIES OFF mid-flight and sparks investigation into mechanical processes of Boeing. (TheGuardian)

This trial came up at an interesting time, as Boeing airplanes have made international news with their safety mishaps in recent years. Of late, a door panel flew off of a Boeing 737 jet mid-flight in January due to missing four bolts, and passengers in another Boeing flight this month were being thrown out of their seats and hitting the ceiling. 

“I remember seeing news about the Boeing door that flew off on Instagram,” senior Jadon Lawrence. “I would not be surprised if the corporation has underlying issues for experiencing  mechanical failures.” 

Additionally, Barnett accused the Boeing management and leadership of disparaging his professional work and holding him back in his career. He added that workers who pointed out legal issues and safety problems in the workplace, including Barnett, were labeled as “troublemakers.” This caused Barnett so much stress that he suffered from clinical anxiety and PTSD that followed him into his retirement, which his family believes may have led to his unfortunate death; his doctor even told him prior to retiring that if he stayed with Boeing, he would have a heart attack.  

However, Barnett’s lawyers Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles are not so sure that his mental health contributed to his death. They remarked that Barnett “was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on… [They] didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it.” 

Is it possible that Barnett just crumpled under the pressure of the trial and his personal issues, or did Boeing strategically take out a key player aiding in their demise? Hopefully Charleston police will get to the bottom of this tragic loss.  

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.