A man is fighting for his life after an attack outside a Sunderland church.
The victim was flown to hospital with what are described as 'life-threatening' injuries.
Police were called to the scene before 11am today.
A cordon has been in place around the car park.
Detectives have appealed for help to find two men who fled from the scene.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "At around 10.45am this morning police received a report that a man had been assaulted in the car park of Hope House Community Church on Hendon Road.
"The 40-year-old had got involved in an altercation with two other men in the car park at which point he was assaulted and fell to the ground.
"Emergency services attended and the man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries by the air ambulance.
"The two men had fled the scene upon police arrival.
"Enquiries to trace those involved are still ongoing and police are now appealing for help from the public.
"Detectives are asking that anyone who saw two men leaving the area concerned, or have information that could identify them, to get in touch with police.
"If anyone can assist detectives then they are asked to call 101 quoting log 368 23/03/18 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
A spokeswoman for the Great North Air Ambulance Service said: "Today we were called at 10.40am to Sunderland where a man sustained serious head injuries.
"He was treated on scene by the GNAAS paramedic and doctor team before being flown to the RVI in Newcastle.
"The flight took seven minutes and the patient arrived in a serious condition."
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We were called at 10.41am to a report of a person unconscious in the Hendon Road area.
"We have sent two double-crewed ambulances and have requested support from the air ambulance."