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Another Boeing whistleblower dies, mere months after the first

This picture taken on November 13, 2023 shows a view of the fuselage and one of the engines of a Boeing 777-9 jetliner aircraft on the tarmac during the 2023 Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central – Al-Maktoum International Airport in Dubai.

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, died on April 30 after battling a stretch of illness that began with influenza B and MRSA, a bacterial infection, and eventually pneumonia, reports

In a statement from Dean’s mother, posted to Facebook, he had been “fighting for his life.”
One of the first whistleblowers to draw attention to Spirit leadership ignoring aircraft defects — specifically on the 737 MAX — Dean’s death comes shortly after the apparent suicide of John “Mitch” Barnett in March, who had been “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,” according to The Seattle Times.

Let go from Spirit in April 2023, Dean had filed a complaint with the Department of Labor alleging that his termination was retaliation for drawing attention to the company’s lax aviation safety measures, related to improperly drilled bulkhead holes.

“I think they were sending out a message to anybody else,” Dean told NPR in February: “If you are too loud, we will silence you.”

“Whistleblowers are needed,” says Brian Knowles, one of Dean’s lawyers. “They bring to light wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. It takes a lot of courage to stand up,” Knowles said. “It’s a difficult set of circumstances. Our thoughts now are with John’s family and Josh’s family.”