• Saturday, April 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Boeing whistleblower raising alarm over the aircraft safety found dead

Boeing whistleblower raising alarm over the aircraft safety found dead

A former Boeing employee known for raising concerns about the firm’s production standards has been found dead in the US.

According to BBC, John Barnett, the Boeing whistleblower, had worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement in 2017.

In the days before his death, he had been giving evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the company.

Boeing however stated that it was saddened to hear of Barnett’s passing. The Charleston County coroner confirmed his death to the BBC on Monday.

It said the 62-year-old had died from a “self-inflicted” wound on 9 March and police were investigating.

According to BBC, Barnett had worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement in 2017 on health grounds.

From 2010, he worked as a quality manager at the North Charleston plant making the 787 Dreamliner, a state-of-the-art airliner used mainly on long-haul routes.

In 2019, Barnett told the BBC that under-pressure workers had been deliberately fitting sub-standard parts to aircraft on the production line.

He also said he had uncovered serious problems with oxygen systems, which could mean one in four breathing masks would not work in an emergency, BBC reports stated.

He said soon after starting work in South Carolina he had become concerned that the push to get new aircraft built meant the assembly process was rushed and safety was compromised, something the company denied

He later told the BBC that workers had failed to follow procedures intended to track components through the factory, allowing defective components to go missing.

He said in some cases, sub-standard parts had even been removed from scrap bins and fitted to planes that were being built to prevent delays on the production line.

He also claimed that tests on emergency oxygen systems due to be fitted to the 787 showed a failure rate of 25 percent, meaning that one in four could fail to deploy in a real-life emergency.