July 15, 2008 / 1:00 AM / 9 years ago

"Lucky" the Koala lives after horror car hit

<p>A male koala, named "Ely 'Lucky' Grills" is seen at the Australian Wildlife Hospital in Brisbane in this handout photo obtained July 15, 2008. Lucky, who cheated death after being hit by a car at 100 kmh (about 60 mph) and dragged with his head jammed through the vehicle grill for 12 kms (about 7 miles) is being dubbed Australia's luckiest marsupial. The eight-year-old male koala was struck by an unwitting motorist north of Brisbane and found only when the car stopped after being flagged down by another vehicle.Australian Wildlife Hospital/Handout</p>

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A koala that cheated death after being hit by a car at 100 kmh (about 60 mph) and dragged with his head jammed through the vehicle grill for 12 kms (about 7 miles) is being dubbed Australia's luckiest marsupial.

The eight-year-old male koala, named "Ely 'Lucky' Grills" by rescuers, was struck by an unwitting motorist north of Brisbane and found only when the car stopped after being flagged down by another vehicle.

"To have him survive and virtually unscathed is quite miraculous," Australian Wildlife Hospital spokewoman Carolyn Beaton told Reuters Tuesday.

"Lucky" hung on during his ordeal with one arm and his trapped head, and was freed with household scissors used like a fireman's "jaws-of-life" to cut around the car's mesh grill with the horrified owner's permission, Beaton said.

"Whilst Lucky was in shock, he quickly recovered and was nearly better after a couple of hours rest and a feed," she said.

Lucky will stay at the hospital, set up by the late television wildlife and crocodile crusader Steve Irwin, for 45 days to recover from his experience and receive treatment for a chlamydial infection.

Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by David Fox

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