Two Australian university students have been shot in New Orleans while trying to buy drugs.
The Curtin University mining students, aged 21 and 23, had caught a taxi in the early hours of Tuesday morning to Algiers, on the west bank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman Dawne Massey said it was early in the investigation, but that a double shooting had been reported at 4.15am to the New Orleans Police Department.
Ms Massey confirmed the two men shot were tourists from Australia and they remained in hospital; one reportedly with chest wounds and the other with stomach wounds.
“Based on the initial investigation, we know that the pair left the French Quarter to go to the Westbank to purchase drugs,” Ms Massey said in a statement. “When they arrived, there was an altercation and the two were both shot by an unknown subject.
“No further info on suspects or any additional information on what happened.”
The Kalgoorlie-based students had been in the United States representing Curtin University’s WA School of Mines Wombats team at the International Collegiate Mining Games in Montana.
The Wombats had won the two-day games, which include drilling, surveying and gold panning, on the weekend for the second year in a row.
Last night, the School of Mines Director, Sam Spearing was travelling to New Orleans to support the students and their families.
The families were also making preparations to go to the US to see their sons, and the university confirmed they had contacted the families of the injured students and was endeavouring to contact all the families of the other students on the team.
Professor Deborah Terry, Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University said the university was providing support to the injured students and their families.
“Support is also being provided to the others in the group who were not in the vicinity of the shooting and are unharmed,” Professor Terry said. “This is a very distressing situation and our thoughts are with the injured students and their families.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the two Australian students and their families.
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