A wide-ranging police search is under way after two prisoners broke free from jail in North Queensland.

The two men, Vaughn Hunter and Fabien Galigan, were serving time at Townsville Correctional Centre when they walked out of the centre’s low-security custody farm on Sunday around 9pm.

“We have had two prisoners walk out of the Townsville Correctional Facility,” Townsville District Officer Chief Superintendent Chris Hodgman said on Monday.

“They were spotted on cameras along the Bruce Highway so we have deployed some expert resources to try and catch up with those gentlemen.”

Superintendent Hodgman said Hunter and Galigan were in prison for “reasonably serious offences” and asked the public not to approach the men if they spotted them.

“I would ask people to not approach these persons,” he said.

“I would just ask people to practice caution and contact police if they come across these two.”

Hunter is serving 10 months for serious assault while Galigan is in jail for two years and six months for a wounding offence.

Tactical crime squad officers, rapid action patrols and investigators from the Queensland Corrective Services investigation unit are searching for the men.

Superintendent Hodgman said it was still unclear how the men had managed to walk out of the facility.

Vaughn is 179cm tall and weighs 61kg and Galigan is 165cm tall and weighs 55kg.

Both men are heavily tattooed.

Vaughn has a tattoo on his right cheek and name on the side of his neck.

Galigan has a tattoo on his face and tattoos on his right and left arms, chest and right leg.

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