Prisoner on the run after hospital escape
A large-scale search for an inmate who escaped from a hospital into bushland has been suspended by police on NSW's mid-north coast.
Matthew Furner, 28, was being treated under guard by Corrective Services NSW officers when he absconded from Port Macquarie Base Hospital before 8am on Sunday.
One of the guards fired a warning shot into bushland adjacent to the hospital during Furner's escape, police said.
A large-scale search was launched with local police, highway patrol, the dog unit and PolAir scouring the nearby area for Furner who was last seen wearing prison greens and running west from the Oxley Highway near Lake Road.
The search for Furner was suspended about 6pm because the search area had become too large, a NSW Police spokesman told AAP.
Investigations will continue and further searches may be conducted depending on information received, police said.
The 28-year-old was brought to Port Macquarie Base Hospital on Saturday after sustaining injuries to his neck at the Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre.
The hospital went into lockdown after Furner escaped over concerns he would double back to seek cover.
While Furner didn't use a high level of violence against any of the staff during the escape, "obviously any person that has escaped, they've escaped for a reason, they don't want to be in custody," Detective Chief Inspector Guy Flaherty said.
Corrective Services guards were with Furner at all times while he was at the hospital and normal protocols were followed, Det Chief Insp Flaherty told reporters in Port Macquarie on Sunday afternoon.
"It was only during a time of bathing and using toilet facilities that he's fled," he said.
Police are urging members of the community to avoid the area and not to approach Furner if they see him.
Furner is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with a slim build, a tattoo on his neck, and a shaved head with a long rat's tail.
He also has some injuries to his neck which have surgical dressings on them.
© AAP 2019