A koala has made a lucky escape after a dash across Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway but SA Police has warned drivers not to rescue animals on busy roads

A koala clings to the steering of a car

A koala has made a lucky escape after a dash across Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway, but SA Police has warned drivers not to rescue animals on busy roads.

Key points:

  • A koala crossed the South Eastern Freeway on Monday morning
  • It is believed to have caused a six-car pile-up on the motorway
  • Peak-hour traffic came to a standstill and the koala was rescued

Nadia Tugwell told ABC Radio Adelaide the furry creature ended up travelling in her car after several cars collided on the South Eastern Freeway this morning.

Ms Tugwell said she was driving down the freeway when she noticed cars were slowing down, and was about three cars back from the collision.

“I was minding my own business and next minute I see a little koala between the cars and the concrete barrier, right near me,” Ms Tugwell told ABC Radio Adelaide’s Sonya Feldhoff.

“Then I saw a lady running after it with a blanket trying to catch it.”

The two women managed to corner the koala before wrapping it in a jacket and putting it in the back of Ms Tugwell’s 4WD.

Ms Tugwell said she arranged to meet a volunteer from Adelaide Koala Rescue at the service station at the bottom of the freeway.

When she arrived at the service station she checked to see how the koala was doing.

“I was sitting in the driver’s seat waiting for the rescuer to come, and then someone started tapping me on the shoulder.

“That was the koala trying to get between the headrest and the window onto my seat.”

The koala then made itself comfortable clinging onto the steering wheel.

two cars mounted on tow trucks on a busy freeway

Six cars were involved in the crash and one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.(ABC News)

Koala escaped injury during the ordeal

Koala Rescue Adelaide volunteer Ann Bigham said the koala came out of the ordeal “scot-free”.

“The koala was in really good condition, it was lucky it hadn’t been hit at all and thanks to the rescuers it was kept safe,” she said.

The koala was set free at a release site about a kilometre away from the freeway.

Inspector Damien Eichner from SA Police said one person was taken to hospital with a sore neck from the impact of crash.

He advised against drivers stopping on the freeway to try and rescue animals themselves.

“Whilst the safety of the animal is important to us, the safety of the people is more important.”

Mr Eichner said that the best course of action if a driver spotted an animal on the freeway, was to call the police assistance phone number on 131 444.

He said from there police could check the cameras along the freeway to ascertain the exact location of the animal and manage the traffic accordingly.

At least six cars were believed to be involved in this morning’s collision.

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