In a radio message to the nation, Obiang declared a three-day period of national mourning following Saturday's crash which, he said, had killed mostly young Equatorial Guineans and women.

The plane, which crashed after leaving Malabo early on Saturday, "was completely destroyed, burned, and there were no survivors," the station announced, playing sombre music as it reported the news.

It took rescuers until Sunday to reach the crash site in a remote area about 30km from Malabo, because they had to skirt the 3000m-high Mount Basile, which overlooks the capital of the West African state, and walk several hours through dense forest.

Rescuers had been able to recover some of the bodies, the radio station said, without stating how many.

According to the government, the Ecuatair plane, an aging Antonov, had 55 people on board, though only 35 passengers and 10 crew were listed on the flight manifest. Several people apparently got on the plane without tickets, the government said, holding an airline employee responsible.

Source: AFP