A Dutch tourist slipped away from immigration custody at Christchurch Airport today, prompting a police search.

The 24-year-old escaped from officials at 3.50pm, police said. He was last seen with blood on his head on Avonhead Road near Russley Road.

Several police staff including a dog unit attended but were unable to find him.

The man injured his head sometime after leaving the immigration office, police said.

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He was described as Caucasian, 168cm tall, slim build and with sandy blond hair.

He was wearing cream coloured jeans and a grey checked shirt.

Police asked that any sighting of the man was reported to them.