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High-Ranking Saudi Prince Killed in Helicopter Crash

Saudi Arabia said the crash happened as the prince was touring local projects 500 miles southwest of Riyadh.
Image: Asir Mountains
Asir Mountains in Saudi Arabia.Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket via Getty Images file

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A helicopter carrying a high-ranking Saudi prince and other government officials crashed Sunday in the kingdom's south near the border with Yemen, reportedly killing all eight people aboard.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said early Monday that the crash happened in Saudi Arabia's Asir province as the official took part in a tour of local projects near Abha, 520 miles southwest of Riyadh.

Image: A map showing the location of Abha, Saudi Arabia
A map showing the location of Abha, Saudi Arabia.Google Maps

Security officials gave no cause for the crash, but they said a search of the wreckage was underway. In Yemen, Houthi officials offered no immediate comment, while its Al-Masirah satellite news channel reported only that the crash had occurred.

The Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, based in Dubai, reported that the crash killed Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and seven others. Prince Mansour was the deputy governor of Asir province.

Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and a onetime crown prince of the kingdom. Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half-brother King Salman in favor of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counterterrorism czar and interior minister.

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But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favor of installing his Mohammed bin Salman, 32, now the crown prince, as first in line to the throne.

The moves have cemented the young crown prince's position in power. Further solidifying his hold were the arrests late Saturday of dozens of the country's most powerful princes, military officers, influential businessmen and government ministers in a purported anti-corruption campaign.