Joshua Dean, a 45-year-old Boeing whistleblower who accused a supplier of overlooking safety issues in the 737 Max production, passes away unexpectedly nearly two months after John Barnett, the airline’s former quality control manager, committed himself

Joshua Dean previously claimed that in October 2022, he was let off from Spirit AeroSystems, where he worked as a quality auditor, for raising concerns about standards at the supplier’s Wichita, Kansas, plant.

The door plug of the Boeing aircraft that unexpectedly blew out midair during an Alaska Airlines trip in January was made by Spirit. Following an unexpected illness, Dean passed away in the hospital on Tuesday, according to his family’s social media posts. In April 2023, he was let go from Spirit AeroSystems.

Dean discussed his firing with NPR earlier this year. “I believe they were conveying a message to anyone else.” We’ll quiet you if you get too loud,’ he declared.

Over the last six months, Boeing’s share price has dropped by nearly 10% to $173.86 as additional safety concerns have surfaced. Carol Parsons, Dean’s aunt, and other family members confirmed his passing in messages obtained by MailOnline and on Facebook. In a statement provided to The Seattle Times, she also confirmed his passing.

Parsons informed the newspaper that Dean had breathing problems and had visited a hospital in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Dean needed to be intubated after contracting MRSA and pneumonia while he was there. She posted on Facebook, saying, “I am grateful for my family and friends’ prayers for this young man.” His departure will be felt greatly, as he passed away early yesterday morning. We shall always love u Josh “

Spirit AeroSystems, his previous company, released a statement wishing Dean’s family well.

“Josh Dean’s family is in our thoughts,” stated spokesman Joe Buccino. “This unexpected loss is devastating news for his loved ones and us here.” Boeing has consistently refuted allegations made by Dean and other informants that the corporation purposefully disregarded safety alerts. According to a Facebook post made by his mother, Dean was cognizant and interacting with medical professionals as recently as Monday. He was given a “50/50 chance of living” at the time, according to a doctor, she wrote. “Josh has not been on any sedation or pain medication and is extremely depressed, scared, and sleeping a lot.

He is also not responding as much as he was a few days ago.” Dean was using an ECMO machine to breathe in his last days. “The physician inquired if he wanted the machine turned off and he wouldn’t respond” his mother added.

‘I told the doctor he doesn’t know what he wants, but I’m confident he wants to live. She went on to add that her kid underwent a procedure to investigate the damage done to his lungs by the pneumonia, which he overcame.

On Wednesday, Parsons said on Facebook: “I am grateful for the prayers of my family and friends for this young man.” He went away yesterday morning, and his loss will be mourned severely.

We shall always love you, Josh.’ Dean’s brother, Justin, died in January at the age of 26. In January, Dean told The Wall Street Journal that he was sacked because he pointed out that holes were mistakenly drilled in a fuselage, which his employer denied.  ‘It is known at Spirit that if you make too much noise and cause too much disturbance, you will be moved. It doesn’t mean you should completely reject anything, but they don’t want you to locate everything and write it up,’ he explained.

In March, another Boeing whistleblower, John Barnett took his own life in the midst of a court lawsuit against Boeing.  He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but his friends disputed this, claiming that he had previously assured them that ‘if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide’.

Dean and Barnett were represented by the same attorney, Brian Knowles, who declined to speculate on his clients’ unexpected deaths in brief remarks to The Seattle Times. Whistleblowers are needed. They expose wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. “It takes a lot of courage to stand up,” Knowles told the site. Dean recalled a pizza party hosted in the Wichita plant to celebrate a decrease in the amount of defects recorded,

claiming that he had told them that ‘if something happens to me, it’s not suicide. Dean and Barnett were represented by the same attorney, Brian Knowles, who declined to speculate on his clients’ unexpected deaths in brief remarks to The Seattle Times. Whistleblowers are needed.

They expose wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. “It takes a lot of courage to stand up,” Knowles told the site. Dean highlighted a pizza party organised in the Wichita facility to celebrate a decrease in the number of defects reported, noting that the conversation rapidly turned to the fact that the improvements were due solely to under-reporting problems. ‘We are holding a pizza celebration since we are reducing defects. But we aren’t reducing defects. We just ain’t reporting them, you know what I mean?,’ Dean said in his NPR interview.

He went on to inform the station that his father and grandfather had previously worked at the same Wichita plant as him, and that he rapidly became dissatisfied with the work environment. ‘I am not saying they don’t want you to go out there and evaluate a work. Yes, they do. But if you make too much trouble, you will get the Josh treatment. You will get what happened to me,’ he replied.  Dean’s accusations are part of a shareholder case launched against Spirit in December, which alleges that the business failed to disclose flaws.

Spirit told the Journal that it vehemently opposes the allegations in the complaint and remains ‘focused on the quality of each aircraft that leaves our facilities.’

Last month, Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour stated that excessive force was used to connect panels together on the 787 manufacturing line, increasing the danger of fatigue or microscopic cracking in the material, which might lead it to fail. Boeing officials described how portions of a fuselage are assembled.

Boeing’s vice president of structural engineering, Steve Chisholm, explained. He added that the average 787 does 600 flights per year. The business stated that the planes currently in use are safe. According to Chisholm, 671 Dreamliners have had extensive 6-year-old examinations, while eight have undergone 12-year inspections, with no evidence of fatigue in the composite skins.

Cracks have been discovered on metallic elements, including a piece above where the wings join the fuselage, and Boeing has given inspection instructions for those parts, officials said. The 787 Dreamliner is a two-aisle aircraft that has been widely utilised on international flights since its introduction in 2011. The composite material makes the plane lighter, resulting in higher fuel efficiency.

A series of battery fires temporarily grounded the aircraft. Deliveries of the aircraft have been halted at times due to concerns about gaps between fuselage panels that were wider than Boeing’s standards permitted, the use of authorised titanium parts from an Italian supplier, and faults in a pressure bulkhead.

The Federal Aviation Administration must inspect and approve each 787 that leaves the production line before it can be delivered to an airline customer. Salehpour, the whistleblower, claims that after raising safety concerns regarding the 787, Boeing shifted him to work on the 777, an older widebody airliner. He claimed the Seattle Times that he witnessed workers jumping on fuselage panels to align them, a claim Boeing disputes.

According to the New York Times, the FAA is investigating Salehpour’s claims. The FAA, while not commenting specifically on Salehpour, stated that it investigates all safety reports. Boeing said it is ‘completely confidence’ in both aircraft. Salehpour is the latest in a succession of Boeing whistleblowers to come forward, typically claiming retaliation for voicing safety concerns.

The company stated that it encourages staff to speak out about difficulties.

Lisa Fahl, the vice president of engineering for Boeing aeroplane programmes, stated that employee reports have ‘exploded’, with more reports filed in January and February than in all of 2023, ‘which is what we want.’