A Saudi prince died in a helicopter crash near the Yemeni border Sunday afternoon, one day after the kingdom’s young crown prince ordered a shocking purge of princes and some of the country’s most influential leaders.
Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin was killed in the crash “while performing an inspection in remote parts of the governorate,” a spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy in Washington told NBC News.
The prince, who’s the son of a former crown prince, Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz who was pushed aside by his half-brother King Salman a few months after he took the throne in 2015, was traveling with a team of other government officials, whose fate remains unknown.
The Saudi-owned, Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiya reported seven other people also died in the crash. Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence director and a one-time crown prince of the kingdom.
Before the crash, Saudi officials said they had intercepted a missile near Riyadh’s airport on Saturday that was fired from war-torn Yemen.
Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin’s death comes a day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the arrest of 11 of his royal cousins, as well as nearly 40 of the country’s most powerful military officers, influential businessmen and government ministers, some of them, were reported to be potential rivals.