Second Whistleblower Deposed in Boeing Aircraft Safety Concerns Dies After Illness

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, passed away on Tuesday following a brief illness, the Seattle Times reported. Dean, 45, was one of the initial whistleblowers to raise alarms about manufacturing defects allegedly overlooked by company leadership.

According to reports, Dean, previously in good health, suddenly fell ill and experienced difficulty breathing in April. He was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator due to symptoms of a fast-spreading infection. Despite medical interventions, including the use of an ECMO machine, Dean succumbed to complications, including pneumonia and MRSA, two weeks later.

Dean had filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Commission accusing senior management at Spirit AeroSystems of “serious and gross misconduct” on the 737 production line. His termination from Spirit in 2023, following a complaint to the Department of Labor regarding aviation safety issues, was allegedly retaliatory.

Represented by a South Carolina law firm, Dean’s case echoed that of John Barnett, a former Boeing employee who died in March under tragic circumstances.

Dean’s concerns, raised in October 2022, involved a manufacturing defect related to the aft pressure bulkhead of the MAX aircraft, which management purportedly disregarded until August 2023. The revelation of this flaw coincided with incidents such as a door panel detachment on a Boeing 737 MAX in January, seemingly corroborating Dean’s assertions.

Boeing’s response to inquiries about these allegations, as well as Spirit AeroSystems’, remains unanswered. The incident adds to growing scrutiny surrounding safety practices within the aviation industry, particularly concerning Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX series.

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