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RIYADH: A helicopter carrying a high-ranking Saudi prince and other government officials crashed on Sunday in the Kingdom’s southern border with Yemen, killing all eight people abroad.

The news channel Al-Ekhbariya announced the death of Prince Mansour bin Moqren, the deputy governor of Asir province and son of a former crown prince.

Local newspaper Okaz reported the helicopter went down while the officials were taking a tour of an area near the coast in Asir, which borders Yemen.

It did not reveal the cause of the crash.

On late Sunday afternoon, the helicopter went off the radar. It was at first unknown how many were on the flight but multiple people have been said to be dead.

The prince was the son of Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – who was the crown prince of Saudi Arabia from January to April in 2015.

He married a daughter of Prince Saud bin Fahd Al Saud in 2013 and two years later he was appointed Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque as a minister.

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 defense 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.

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