Death of second Boeing whistleblower from a ‘sudden infection’ raises eyebrows

A whistleblower who brought attention to one of Boeing’s suppliers has reportedly died suddenly from an infection.

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Spirit AeroSystems, died Tuesday “after a struggle with a sudden, fast-spreading infection,” the Seattle Times reported. Dean’s death comes after another Boeing whistleblower was found dead in an apparent suicide in March.

The 45-year-old had raised concerns about the Boeing supplier ignoring production defects on the 737 MAX model. He reportedly was in good health before suddenly becoming sick and fighting for his life in the hospital.

“Our thoughts are with Josh Dean’s family. This sudden loss is stunning news here and for his loved ones,” Spirit spokesperson Joe Buccino said.

According to the Seattle Times:

Dean had given a deposition in a Spirit shareholder lawsuit and also filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration alleging “serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737 production line” at Spirit.

Spirit fired Dean in April 2023, and he had filed a complaint with the Department of Labor alleging his termination was in retaliation for raising concerns related to aviation safety.


Dean’s aunt Carol Parson recounted how he had gone to the hospital with trouble breathing before a series of developments sent him further into medical emergency. He developed pneumonia and a bacterial infection, MRSA, before being airlifted from Wichita to a hospital in Oklahoma City, where machines performed the work to keep him alive.

His mother posted details on Facebook, indicating he had suffered a stroke and doctors had considered amputating limbs.

“It was brutal what he went through,” Parsons said. “Heartbreaking.”

Dean’s death comes two months after whistleblower John “Mitch” Barnett who was “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 in Charleston, S.C., where Boeing has its 787 manufacturing facility,” according to the Seattle Times.

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

Social media users reacted to the death of another whistleblower.

Frieda Powers


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