*** ----> Saudi Prince, 7 others die in copter crash | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Saudi Prince, 7 others die in copter crash

Riyadh : The deputy governor of Saudi Arabia’s Asir province and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The accident happened Sunday night when the helicopter carrying Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and other regional officials were returning from a regular inspection tour, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting a Ministry of Interior spokesman. 

The officials spent most of the day inspecting a number of coastal projects west of Abha city, it said.

“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 SPA report said.

Later, state news channel al-Ikhbariya announced the death of the prince.

It also posted on Twitter photographs of the wreckage and a video showing the prince and his companions using the helicopter hours before their deaths.

The Reda reserve is located in the Sarawat Mountains, the largest range in the Arabian Peninsula, and is about 10km (6 miles) west of Abha and 120km from the border with Yemen

Security officials gave no cause for the crash, but said a search of the wreckage was underway. 




(The video footage shows the Saudi Prince boarding the helicopter before it crashed)

In a statement posted on SPA, the Royal Court said that the funeral prayer will be performed tomorrow after Asr prayer at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.

Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and a one-time crown prince of the Kingdom. Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half brother Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz in favour of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, former interior minister.

But in June, Prince Mohammed was replaced by the King in favour of the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne.

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 Huthi rebels.

In Yemen, Houthi officials offered no immediate comment on the crash, while its Al-Masirah satellite news channel reported only that the crash had occurred.