High-ranking Saudi prince killed in suspicious helicopter crash near Yemen border

Prince Mansur bin Muqrin Al Saud

A helicopter carrying several Saudi officials and a high-ranking prince crashed in the kingdom’s south-western border with Yemen.

The Saudi interior ministry confirmed on Sunday night that Prince Mansur bin Muqrin, who is the deputy governor of Asir, died in a helicopter crash, which was carrying seven other officials.

The Prince was on a tour of local projects west of the city of Abha when the crash happened on Sunday evening, the ministry added.

The ministry added: “While returning in the evening of the same day, contact with the plane was lost in the vicinity of the Reda reserve.

“The authorities are currently searching for survivors as the wreckage has been found.”

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

The Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya reported that Prince Mansur bin Muqrin died in the crash. Seven other officials were also reportedly killed.

Videos posted on Twitter hours before the crash showed him carrying out an inspection of defence and environmental projects.

Prince Mansur was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief who was the crown prince between January and April 2015, when he was pushed aside by Prince Mohammed’s father, King Salman, 81.

An anti-corruption body led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the detentions of dozens of people, including 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers.

Analysts see the unprecedented move as an attempt to cement the power of the heir to the throne.

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