Second Boeing whistleblower dies after sudden illness: reports

A Boeing whistleblower who raised Safety concerns about the airline’s 737 MAX planes died after a sudden illness, US media reported on Thursday (May 2).

Joshua Dean, 45, died Tuesday. He had received multiple diagnoses, including the flu, pneumonia and a bacterial infection.said his attorney Robert Turkewitz.

“He was a healthy individual who ate well and exercised,” Turkewitz told NBC News. “So it seems strange that he went so fast.”

Dean, a former quality inspector for Spirit AeroSystems that builds most of the 737 MAX for Boeing, had been sick for two weeks.

He was dealing with breathing difficulties and needed respiratory assistance, according to NBC News.

His death comes weeks after another Boeing whistleblower was found dead in an apparent suicide.


In October 2022, Dean raised concerns about poorly drilled holes in a rear section of the MAX plane, which is vital for maintaining cabin pressure during flight, CBS News reported.

Less than a year later, Spirit fired him. He filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging that his firing was retaliation for raising safety concerns.

“I think they were sending a message to anyone else,” Dean told several US media outlets. “If you make too much noise, we will silence you.”

Boeing acknowledged the poorly drilled holes in August 2023, saying that while it was “not an immediate safety issue,” the company would have to re-inspect and repair affected planes, delaying deliveries to airlines.

The announcement caused Spirit shares to drop more than 10 percent the next day, CBS News reported.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh and his family,” his attorneys Brian Knowles and Turkewitz said in a statement.

“Josh’s passing is a loss to the aviation community and the flying public. He possessed tremendous courage to stand up for what he believed to be true and right and raised issues of quality and safety.

“Aviation companies should encourage and incentivize those that raise these concerns. Otherwise, safety and quality are not really the top priorities of these companies.”