Jerry Cooper, a St. John's native, died at an oilsands project in northern Alberta over the weekend, although his widow harbours no ill will toward his employer.

The body of Cooper, 40, was found Sunday in a large pool of sand and water at a Suncor operation.

Cooper worked there as a tailings operator.

Tammy Cooper told CBC News that her husband was not to blame, but neither was Suncor.

"It was a tragic accident that could have happened to anyone," she said. "This was not negligence — it was unforeseen."

She said that her husband's colleagues are also shocked by the incident.

"I understand that Suncor is very shook up and I know so many employees that work there and everyone is deeply affected. Jerry touched a lot of lives and he's a great man."

Cooper, a father of two, was born in St. John's, but has lived in Fort McMurray for more than three decades.