A search for a man suspected of stabbing two people dramatically switched to Dublin last night as one of the victims was critically ill in hospital.
Emergency surgery was carried out on the 31-year-old man, who was found with a gaping knife wound to his stomach at the Fitzwilliam Court apartment complex on Dyer Street in Drogheda, Co Louth, shortly after 2pm.
Sources said the man was clinically dead when the ambulance crew arrived at the apartment. But, thanks to the skills of an advanced paramedic, he was resuscitated. The man had been dead for almost five minutes.
The stab wound measured almost six inches and the man was taken directly to the operating theatre when he arrived by ambulance at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in the town.
But the man was later rushed from the Drogheda hospital to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin when he underwent surgery again last night as doctors fought to save his life.
A 39-year-old woman was also stabbed in the stomach and was taken to hospital. Her condition was described last night as "stable".
The two victims are originally from Pakistan but have been living in Ireland for some time.
Gardai believe the attacker is well-known to the victims and that he had travelled from Dublin to Drogheda earlier in the day. Officers think the stabbings are probably connected to a previous dispute involving at least two of those involved in the apartment incident.
Within minutes of the attacker arriving at the apartment, it is understood that a row erupted and the two were brutally stabbed.
A detailed search of the apartment and grounds nearby failed to locate the weapon used in the attack. Gardai were called to the scene by the medical emergency crew and immediately sealed off the area.
A forensic examination of the apartment is being carried out and is focusing on the kitchenette area. Gardai believe the suspect may have returned to Dublin after the incident and his description has been circulated to all units.
A manhunt was under way last night.
Door-to-door inquiries were being carried out in the Dyer Street area, while gardai were also trying to retrace the route taken by the suspect between Drogheda and Dublin. Detectives were also trying to establish how the suspect managed to leave the scene after the stabbings.
Anybody with information can contact Drogheda station, or the confidential telephone line, 1800 666111.