High-ranking Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near border
Prince Mansour bin Moqren, the deputy governor of Asir province and son of a former crown prince, was killed in the crash in Asir province as he took part in a tour of local projects, the state-run SPA said on Monday.
State-run news channel al-Ekhbariya published the images of the wreckage of the helicopter on Monday morning.
Authorities have failed to reveal the cause of the crash.
Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and one-time crown prince.
Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half-brother King Salman in favour of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counterterrorism czar and interior minister.
But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favour of the king's 32-year-old son, the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne.
News of the crash comes as Saudi Arabia pursues a sweeping purge of the kingdom's upper ranks, with dozens of princes, ministers and a billionaire tycoon arrested as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cements his hold on power.
Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to the economy, Prince Mohammed is widely seen to be stamping out traces of internal dissent before a formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.
The helicopter crash also comes after Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh's international airport after it was fired from Yemen in an escalation of the kingdom's war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.