A 40-year-old worker at the Suncor Energy oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta., has died, the company reported Sunday.

In a press release, Suncor said the man had gone missing early Sunday. Emergency personnel with the company were called in around 7 a.m. to look for the worker. The worker was found dead submerged in sand a few hours later. 

Suncor informed RCMP and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety. 

"The employee was found in the sand-dump area. That's a drying area that is part of our extraction process," Suncor spokesperson Sneh Seetal told CBC News.

Out of respect for the family, the company would not release any more information about the worker, Seetal said.

"Our immediate concern is for family and friends and co-workers and they are in thoughts at this incredibly difficult time."

Seetal said the employee's immediate family members have been notified and grief counsellors brought in to assist family and co-workers. No other employees were involved in the incident.

Seetal said it was too early to tell what caused the death, and the company would be conducting an investigation.