Search was underway Sunday to locate a light aircraft with two people on board that disappeared over the English Channel, the French coastguard said.

The P28 plane had taken off from Wellesbourne in Britain on Saturday for the French seaside resort of Le Touquet, the maritime prefecture said.

The British-registered plane had taken off with five other light aircraft as part of a joint outing, the prefecture said.

Its last known position was halfway over the Channel some 25 miles (45 kilometres) from Dungeness in the south east of England, according to the UK coastguard.

A substantial search operation by both the French and the British authorities on Saturday proved fruitless.

The search resumed on Sunday with a French helicopter and a French navy rescue boat, as well as a UK coastguard plane.

A number of commercial ships in the area had also been asked to help, but no debris has yet been found and no witnesses reported seeing the plane go down, the prefecture told AFP.