Police are on the hunt for a ginger-haired man who stabbed a 16-year-old boy in a "ferocious" and apparent random attack outside an inner Sydney shopping centre.
The teen was out buying groceries at the Balmain Woolworths supermarket with his younger brother, aged 14, when they were confronted by a man with a knife in a car park on Darling Street about 7pm on Thursday.
The man spoke with the pair before attacking the teen and fleeing with a woman.
The teen suffered wounds to his upper body and hand.
He was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he remains in a stable condition following overnight surgery.
Riot police and the dog squad have searched the area extensively on Friday in a bid to track down the assailant, described as having ginger hair and who was last seen wearing a red jacket with dark pants.
He is Caucasian, speaks with an Australian accent, and is between 180-185 centimetres tall.
A witness said she heard the boy cry out before she approached him to find him surrounded by blood.
"I just saw some kids screaming and at first I thought they were mucking around," the woman told Nine News on Thursday night.
"Then I heard him just scream out 'I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed, help me'.
"I walked over and there was just blood all over the floor. He said 'I didn't know where he came from or who he was, he just came out of nowhere."
Inspector Gary Coffey said it's not believed the attacker and the teenager knew each other.
He said police are eager to speak with the teenager once his condition improves.
"It's a pretty ferocious attack and certainly it's not something that would normally occur in this area," he told reporters at the scene.
Police will address the media later on Friday.