It took about 36 hours to find the wreckage of the Kenyan Airways plane which crashed in the swamps near the Cameroonian coastal city of Douala on Saturday.
The Boeing 737-800 disintegrated on impact, with officials saying there were no signs that any of the 114 passengers and crew could have survived.
Jet fuel fumes and the smell of decaying bodies hang over the crash site. The plane came down shortly after taking off from Douala en route to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The grisly task of removing bodies and body parts from the mangroves is now under way.
Earlier, local villagers helped to clear a path through the mangroves using machetes after they located the crash site. Heavy rain on Saturday delayed the search.
Any hopes the anguished relatives of those on board the aircraft had are now fading fast.
Kenyans held a prayer service on Sunday in Nairobi. The plane was just six months old. The passengers came from at least 23 countries.