Two teenage boys were stabbed outside a college before being rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
It is believed that the students ran back into the college for help after the horrifying assault which took place near a busy main road.
A hunt for their attacker has now been launched by polce.
In a statement, the force said: “At around 2.50pm today (Monday 3 February) officers were called to reports of a disturbance near to Riverside College in Kingsway, Widnes.
“Officers attended the scene and discovered two 16-year-old boys with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
“They have both been taken to Aintree Hospital for treatment.
“Their next of kin are aware.
“Road closures are currently in place on Kingsway as a result of the incident.”
According to students, it was a large ‘gang fight’ in the campus car park.
A shopkeeper who witnessed the attack told the ECHO: “Two youths from rival gangs were fighting watched by a crowd of about 15 others.”
Chief Inspector Catherine Pritchard said: “The investigation is in the very early stages but I would like to reassure people that this appears to be an isolated incident and there is not believed to be any risk to the wider community.
“Officers remain at the scene and enquiries are ongoing. If anyone has any concerns they are urged to speak to a local officer.”
Thalia Bell, Deputy Principal of Riverside College said: ” An incident occurred this afternoon in Widnes in which College students were assaulted.
“We are pleased the students returned to the College to seek help and support.
“Their injuries are not life threatening and their next of kin have been informed.
“We are also thankful to the police and ambulance for their assistance. We are currently supporting the police with their enquiries.
“The College is operating as normal.”
No arrests have been made at the current time and enquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with any information is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 627919.
Information can also be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously