A police operation is underway to locate two women and two boys who went missing after a domestic-related incident in Ootha, in central west New South Wales.
NSW Police said two men armed with a shotgun, a knife, and an axe assaulted a man in a home on Henry Parkes Way around 5:00am and knocked him unconscious.
When the 68-year-old regained consciousness the house had been destroyed by fire and he could not locate the other occupants — two women, 71 and 41, and two boys, 11 and 14.
Police are searching for the four missing people, saying there is serious concern for their welfare.
Authorities are on the lookout for a 1998 green Toyota 4WD, with NSW registration CD98XE, which was seen at the property.
It is believed the two men had travelled to the Hunter Region or the Central Coast.
Police urged people to not approach the vehicle or the men, but contact 000 immediately.
The man who was assaulted in the house has been airlifted to Orange Base Hospital in a critical condition.
More to come.