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Egypt Ministry of Civil Aviation says it lost contact with a Russian aircraft

  • Relatives of the victims of a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard has crashed, react as they gather at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    Relatives of the victims of a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard has crashed, react as they gather at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Relatives of the victims of a crashed Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard, help each other as they gathering at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    Relatives of the victims of a crashed Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard, help each other as they gathering at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, The Russian airline Kogalymavia’s Airbus A321 with a tail number of EI-ETJ on an airstrip of Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport, outside Moscow, Russia.  Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane EI-ETJ, that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Tatiana Belyakova)

    In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, The Russian airline Kogalymavia’s Airbus A321 with a tail number of EI-ETJ on an airstrip of Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport, outside Moscow, Russia. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane EI-ETJ, that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Tatiana Belyakova)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation says it lost contact with a Russian aircraft carrying 217 passengers and 7 crew members over the restive Sinai peninsula, according to Egypt's state-run news agency.

A statement carried by the MENA agency says the flight took off from Sinai's Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular destination for Russian tourists, at 5:51 a.m. local time and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes after takeoff.

It says the plane was bound for St. Petersburg in Russia and a search and rescue team is looking for the plane. Earlier in the day, an Egyptian official with the government's Incidents Committee told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact and was now safely in Turkish airspace.