IN A clever act of quick thinking, a group of university students have managed to save a trapped koala from a mine shaft - twice.

Outdoor education students from the University of Ballarat were shocked to stumble across a koala that was stuck down a five-metre mine shaft in the Lal Lal State Forest, located about 10km east of Meredith.

The group of 16 third-year students quickly formed a plan to help rescue the trapped marsupial by lowering a tree branch down into the shaft for it to climb up.

One of the students, Luke Parker, said they were concerned about the koala's condition.

"We weren’t sure how long she had been down there, so we threw her some leaves to eat, which it was very grateful for," Mr Parker said.

But their rescue mission took a bad turn when the koala lost its footing while climbing free, and fell almost 7m back into the mine shaft. Digital Pass - $5 weekend papers

"A lot of us screamed. I think we were in shock. We didn’t think she was going to come back up," Mr Parker said.

But the lucky koala landed on its feet and began a second attempt at climbing up the branch, this time managing to make it all the way out before taking refuge in a nearby tree.

The rescue was an incredible feat for the young students and Mr. Parker described it as a real bonding experience.

"We were so relieved that he made it out, then also really excited and proud of what we had accomplished," Mr Parker said.

Lecturer Peter Martin, who led the tour, has been teaching outdoor education for almost 30 years and said he had never experienced anything like it.

Mr Parker hopes this helps show the value outdoor education can have in the national curriculum.

The koala makes its way safely into a nearby tree. Photo: Supplied (Kate Bradbury) Source: Supplied
"We believe it is important for student personal development, along with learning how to care and interact with the environment," Mr Parker said.

"We hope this rescue can help show what outdoor education can do." (SOURCE)

VIDEO Students help stranded koala in Australia
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