Whistleblower who exposed Boeing's aircraft faults dies suddenly from mysterious severe infection 2 months after previous whistleblower died by 'suicide'

Friday, May 3, 2024 - A Boeing airlines whistleblower who raised concerns about one of the aircraft carrier’s suppliers ignoring production defects died suddenly on Tuesday, April 30 — just two months after another employee who sounded the alarm about the company died by alleged suicide.

Joshua Dean, 45, a former quality auditor at Spirit AeroSystems, died Tuesday morning from a mystery infection, the Seattle Times reported.

Dean, from Wichita, (pictured above) had reportedly been in good health until about two weeks ago, when he was admitted to the hospital, the outlet reported.

However, by April 21 he was in “very critical condition,” and had tested positive for influenza B, MRSA, and pneumonia, the outlet said.

He was intubated and put on dialysis before eventually being airlifted to another hospital in Oklahoma City.

A CT scan indicated that he had also suffered a stroke.

Shortly before his death, doctors were considering amputating his hands and feet, which had turned black from infection to the shock of his family and doctors.

“He is in the worst condition I have ever known or heard of. Even the hospital agrees,” his sister-in-law, Kristen Dean, wrote on Facebook Saturday, before detailing the life-saving procedures doctors were trying to save him.

His family then announced that he died Tuesday morning.

Dean had raised the alarm about defects while working at Spirit Aerosystems, a Kansas-based company which manufactures aircraft parts for Boeing in 2022. Less than a year later he was fired.

“I think they were sending out a message to anybody else,” Dean later told NPR of his firing. “If you are too loud, we will silence you.”

Dean, who had been at Spirit since 2019 as a quality auditor, raised concerns about improperly drilled bulkhead holes on parts for Boeing 373 Max planes, according to the Seattle Times. He claimed flagging the issue with his management had no effect on the company's plans or production and nothing changed.

He has said his focus on the improperly drilled parts caused him to miss another issue with fittings between the vertical tail fin to the fuselage of the aircraft, which was later discovered and led to his being fired.

The issues with the improper drilling were later acknowledged by Spirit Aerosystems. Both issues caused delays at Boeing manufacturing plants.

Dean who provided testimony he and other workers were told to downplay any problems they identified, filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration which claimed he was scapegoated in Spirit’s effort to keep the Boeing production issues secret.

In November 2023, he also filed a complaint with the Department of Labor on the grounds of wrongful termination.

That case was still pending at the time of his death, the outlet said.

Dean’s death comes less than two months after Boeing whistleblower John Barnett died from an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound in March.

His death is still under investigation by the local police after Barnett’s lawyers raised the alarm, saying “we didn’t see any indication he would take his own life … no one can believe it,” and urging a thorough investigation.

The same lawyer, Brian Knowles, was also representing Dean.

He told TIME: “Josh’s passing is a loss to the aviation community and the flying public.

“He possessed tremendous courage to stand up for what he felt was true and right and raised quality and safety issues,” Knowles added.

When asked if he agreed with the growing theories linking his clients’ back-to-back deaths, Knowles said he “would like to see the evidence from the investigating authorities.”

“What society does not need is people in fear to speak up,” he noted.

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