At 0310 hours, Suntan flight was trolling for SAM sites located in the densely populated and heavily defended sector northeast of the city of Haiphong. Suntan Lead observed his wingman as he flew low over the countryside. Lead continued to watch as Suntan 02 was struck by enemy fire and crashed into the sand and mudflats on the edge of the Song Da Bach River. The crash site was located approximately 3 miles south of Quang Yen and 7 miles northeast of Haiphong.
Suntan Lead immediately notified the ABCCC of the situation and then initiated an electronic search and rescue (SAR) for Capt. Mateja and Capt. Jones. In the night’s darkness, Suntan Lead saw no parachutes and heard no emergency beeper signals emanating from the area of loss. Due to the location of loss being deep within enemy held territory, no ground search was possible. At the time the electron search was terminated, Alan Mateja and Orvin Jones were reported as Missing in Action.
In 1992, a National Security Agency (NSA) correlation study of all communist radio intercepts pertaining to missing Americans, which was presented to the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs in a classified format, was finally declassified and made public. According to this document, 5 North Vietnamese radio messages were intercepted and correlated to this incident. The NSA synopsis states: “Note; possibly shot down by SAM during SAM suppression mission. Unid (unidentified) unit ? shootdown of an unid type aircraft at high point 1774 (unloc). A search party had been dispatched to ?. Ascertain the situation. MiG-21’s out of Phuc Yen ?. Shootdown between 0423z-0439z on 16 April, ?.the pilot bailed out. Four aircraft reported shot down in the Haiphong area and one pilot reported captured. 232nd AAA Regiment associate (poss. In the DMZ area); an aircraft was shot down ? and the pilot captured
NOTE: This is info that I found on the “Together We Served” website.