Former St. John's resident found dead in oilsands site

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.
Jerry Cooper, 40, is seen in this family photo with his wife Tammy Cooper and their two children, Brayden and Breanna. (CBC)

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.