A Nanaimo woman suffered significant injuries from an unprovoked assault by a man wielding a pipe on Saturday evening.

The attack took place in front of the Dorchester Hotel on Chapel Street at approximately 7:30 p.m., according to the RCMP.

Police say that the 28-year-old woman was able to fight off the man, and that the suspect fled into a parked vehicle after the assault.

Police say that witnesses at the scene saw the attack and spotted the man jump into a waiting white GMC pickup truck that was parked near 38 Front St. The vehicle then drove northbound on Front Street away from the scene.

According to RCMP, the victim received significant but non-life threatening injuries from the attack. She decided not to go to hospital and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

Police are now searching for the male suspect in what they called a "vicious assault."

The suspect is described as a white, heavy-set man with a beard. At the time of the attack he was wearing dark clothing.

"Investigators are presently canvassing the area for video surveillance and are asking motorists who have dash cam video from 7 p.m. to 7:45 pm on Saturday October 12th, along Front St., Commercial Ave. or Terminal Ave., to please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345," said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

This attack marks the second recent instance of an unprovoked assault occurring in Nanaimo. Back in September, a Nanaimo couple was assaulted by two men wielding baseball bats in what police describe as an unprovoked attack.