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Plane said to carry Sri Lanka's president most-tracked in the world

The plane carrying Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa preparing to take off at Male's international airport on July 14, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE : A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Maldives to Singapore believed to be carrying Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the world's most-tracked flight on Thursday (July 14), underscoring massive global interest in the troubled island nation's political affairs.

Saudia flight 788 from Male was being tracked by almost 5,000 users as of 7.43am GMT (3.43pm Singapore time), according to data from Flightradar24.com, more than three times the number of people tracking a French Air Force plane flying in Europe.

Rajapaksa is taking a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane to Singapore and then Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press reported earlier Thursday, citing a Maldivian official it didn't name.

The plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is scheduled to land in Singapore at about 7.12pm local time, according to Flightradar24 data.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka for the Maldives on Wednesday, amid widespread protests against his government.

He is expected to tender his resignation letter once at his destination, after missing a self-declared deadline Wednesday.