Two university students from Western Australia have been shot in New Orleans in the United States, with local media reporting they were venturing into the West Bank area to buy drugs.

The men had competed in the 38th Intercollegiate Mining Games in Montana as part of the Wombats team representing Curtin University‘s WA School of Mines and had travelled to New Orleans for a private holiday.

Curtin vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said both students were in hospital and were reported to be in a stable condition.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, the men are aged 21 and 23, and had taken a taxi to the Algiers area, which is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, to meet with a drug dealer at about 4.15am on Wednesday.

At some point during the meeting, one of the students was shot in the stomach while the other was shot in the chest.

Professor Terry said both students’ families had been contacted and were arranging to travel to the US, where support would be offered by School of Mines director Sam Spearing.

“Support is also being provided to the others in the group who were not in the vicinity of the shooting and are unharmed,” she said.

“This is a very distressing situation and our thoughts are with the injured students and their families.”

The Kalgoorlie-based WA School of Mines took out top titles at the Montana event, with the Wombat A team dubbed the champions for the second straight year, while the Wombat B team was the runner-up.