Prince Mansour bin Muqrin of Saudi Arabia and seven other officials have been killed in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Yemen, state media report.
The prince – the deputy governor of Asir province – was returning from an inspection tour when his aircraft came down near Abha on November 5, the interior ministry said.
It did not give a cause for the crash.
The incident came hours after a major purge of Saudi Arabia’s political and business leadership.
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.
Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief who was crown prince between January and April 2015, when he was pushed aside by Prince Mohammed’s father, King Salman.
The late prince served as a consultant to his father’s royal court and in April 2017 was among 8 young royals appointed deputy governors.
An interior ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said Prince Mansour and seven provincial officials had boarded a helicopter on November 6 to tour a number of coastal projects west of the city of Abha.
The statement also said: “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.”
Later, state news channel al-Ikhbariya announced the death of Prince Mansour.