A 78-year-old man and his son are recovering after they were both stabbed in a violent home invasion at Hawks Nest on Monday night.
Neighbours have described a harrowing scene at the Booner Street home, where the 78-year-old opened the door about 10.30pm to three men who assaulted him, stabbed him in the abdomen and pushed their way inside.
Investigators have been told the group went upstairs and assaulted a 53-year-old man who was subsequently stabbed in the back while attempting to flee.
The 53-year-old continued to run and was stabbed in the back and neck a further seven times, police said.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said he heard screams and swearing coming from the residence for several minutes before the sounds of a helicopter overhead.
"It was pretty obscene language," the neighbour said.
"It went on for four or five minutes."
The home invaders took a purse and car keys from a 40-year-old woman before fleeing the property on foot.
Port Stephens-Hunter police commander Superintendent Chad Gillies said it was too early to tell what the motive behind the attack was. But he said there were two females in the house at the time, one of whom "left of her own accord" with the three assailants.
Supt Gillies said detectives were keen to speak to the woman as part of their investigation.
Paramedics treated the 53-year-old man before he was flown to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition, where he remained on Tuesday evening.
The older man was also taken to hospital in a stable condition to receive treatment for a stab wound and head injuries. He has since been discharged.
Neighbours described the 78-year-old resident as "chatty", "friendly" and "harmless".
"I feel sad for him," one resident said. "There's never been a peep out of there [before this]."
"He got a knife for opening the door," another said.
However the neighbours said they don't feel unsafe living in the neighbourhood.
Another neighbour Jason Baxter said he slept through the incident, but that his mother was awake at the time and saw several people running from the property carrying some items.
"I feel for the guy, it's very surprising being so close to home," Mr Baxter said.
"We get a lot of holiday people here running amok, but nothing like this."
Port Stephens-Hunter police established a crime scene and are investigating the incident.
One of the men was described as being of Middle Eastern appearance, 170-180cm tall with brown hair and a light coloured beard. Another was described as being of Caucasian appearance, 175-185cm tall with a thin build.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.