07/04/2016 8:07 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

West Australian Students Shot In New Orleans After Botched Drug Deal

Anne Rippy via Getty Images
Night on Bourbon Street in The French Quarter - New Orleans, Louisiana - USA

Police in New Orleans are hunting for three suspects after two West Australian university students were shot during what police described as a botched drug deal.

The men, aged 21 and 23, were in the popular tourist area of Bourbon Street when they approached a stranger, asking him where they could buy drugs.

The men -- whose names have not been released -- told police they got into a car with a male driver who took them to the most crime-ridden part of town, the Algiers district.

But when the driver let them know the drugs would cost them several hundred dollars, the students admitted they didn’t have enough money. An argument broke out and one man was shot in the stomach while the other man was shot in the chest.

The shooting took place on the corner of LB Landry Avenue and Shepard Street at 4.15am Tuesday local time, near a primary school.

New Orleans police released statement that said the pair got out of the car when they were approached by another man who demanded money.

"When they told him they didn't have it, the unknown male shot them both," the police statement said.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, both men are in a stable condition in hospital.

The students were reportedly part of a team from Curtin University's School of Mining who had been taking part in the Intercollegiate Mining Games in Montana.

In a statement, the University said they had finished competing in the games and were on a private holiday to New Orleans.

Curtin vice-chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said, via the statement, the university was providing support and assistance 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.

Relatives of the pair and a representative from the university are now travelling to the U.S.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the two students and their families.