Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian prince killed in helicopter crash

On Sunday, the helicopter carrying a Saudi Arabian prince crashed killing him and seven others. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was a son of former Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz who served as Crown Prince for four months in 2015 until he was forced out by his brother, King Salman. The crash occurred near the country’s border with Yemen according to the state media.

Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was serving as deputy governor of Asir province. He was appointed to this position this past April for serving as a consultant for his father while he was on the throne. Prince Mansour was on an inspection tour when the aircraft came down near Abha said the Interior Ministry. A reason for the crash has yet to be provided.

Just hours before the crash, an anti-corruption contingent led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, ordered the detentions of 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers many of whom were the country’s political and business leaders. Analysts see this move as a way for the Crown Prince to cement his power.

The Saudi Press Agency said in an official statement that the Prince and seven provincial officials bordered a helicopter Sunday morning to tour coastal projects west of the city of Abha: “While returning in the evening of the same day, contact with the plane was lost in the vicinity of the Reda reserve.” It added, “The authorities are currently searching for survivors as the wreckage has been found.”

The Reda reserve is located in the Sarawat Mountains, which is 10-km west of Abha and approximately 120km from the border with Yemen. For two and a half years, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition to support Yemen’s internationally recognised government in the rebel Houthi movement. The Interior Ministry didn’t mention a link between the conflict and the crash.

News of the Prince’s death was announced on the state’s news channel; photographs of the crash site and a video of the Prince and his fellow passengers were later posted on social media.