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19 Apr, 2024 10:41

Boeing whistleblower threatened with ‘physical harm’ – CNN  

An engineer claims he has been targeted by the company for raising concerns about “no safety culture” 
Boeing whistleblower threatened with ‘physical harm’ – CNN  

Hundreds of people could die unless American aerospace giant Boeing addresses critical safety issues, a whistleblower has told the US Senate, also claiming that he was threatened with “physical violence” for going public, CNN has reported.   

Sam Salehpour, an engineer at Boeing, told two Senate committee hearings on Wednesday that he has been voicing safety concerns for several years but has been “ignored” and told “not to create delays.”  

“The safety problems I have observed at Boeing, if not addressed, could result in a catastrophic failure of a commercial airplane that would lead to the loss of hundreds of lives,” he said.   

His testimony comes as Boeing grapples with the fallout from a major safety crisis. Fears were raised after an incident on a 737 MAX in January, when an Alaska Airlines flight bound for California from Portland, Oregon, had to turn back after a door panel blew off at 16,000 feet (4,900 meters), injuring several of the 171 passengers aboard and sucking clothing and cell phones out of the aircraft.  

After raising concerns, Salehpour said “I was told not to create delays. I was told, frankly, to shut up.” There is “no safety culture” at Boeing, he claimed, alleging that employees who raise the alarm are “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse.”   

The engineer insisted he was testifying due to his confidence that Boeing was “putting out defective airplanes.” He cited alleged practices by the planemaker, including people jumping on pieces of the airplane to correct misalignment between sections of jets.   

Salehpour has reportedly urged Boeing to ground all 787 jets for inspection. The US Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the allegations that Boeing took shortcuts to reduce production bottlenecks while making the 787. Salehpour also raised issues about the production of the 777, another wide-body jet.  

Boeing did not have any witnesses at either hearing, according to CNN, but at a briefing earlier this week the company defended its production standards. The manufacturer said that in 13 years of service, the 787 fleet has safely transported over 850 million passengers on more than 4.2 million flights, while the 777 fleet has safely flown more than 3.9 billion passengers around the world.  

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced in March that he will step down by the end of the current year, in a move seen as major management shakeup.

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