A New Jersey family’s idyllic Canadian camping trip quickly turned into a nightmare after they were brutally attacked by a wolf in their sleep.
“It was like something out of a horror movie,” Elisa Rispoli revealed on Facebook, recounting the terrifying incident.
The family was in Banff National Park in Alberta when the wild animal “ripped apart” their tent at around 1 a.m. last Friday.
Elisa explained that her husband Matthew bravely swung into action and “threw his body in front of me and the boys.”
As he shielded his wife and children, the wolf bit through his arms and hands, Elisa shared.
“We were screaming for help as he was fighting it and trying to save us, for what felt like an eternity (but I think was anywhere from 1-3 minutes),” she continued.
The situation intensified by the moment as Elisa then revealed, “I laid my body on top of the kids and Matt pinned the wolf to the ground and held open its jaw with his hands.”
The wolf then began to drag Matthew away, with Elisa holding on to his legs “trying to get him back.”
“I cannot and don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror,” Elisa continued.
That’s when a man, whom Elisa has called their “guardian angel,” came to their rescue after hearing their screams from a nearby tent.
Elisa said the man, whose name is Russ Fee, “came over to our site and kicked the wolf and it finally let go of Matt.”
“They had to continue to throw huge rocks at the wolf while we ran as fast as we could to Russ’ mini van to safety.”
Elisa said the rest of the night was a blur, but they were able to get Matthew to a nearby hospital where he was treated for “puncture wounds and lacerations on his hands and arms.”
She went on to share that he is expected to recover.
“He’s ok. We are pretty traumatized but ok. It could have been so so much worse, and we are just feeling so thankful that we are all still sitting here as a complete family,” Elisa wrote.
“Matt is our absolute hero (I mean, way more than he normally was) and we are forever grateful to Russ who came to our aid and likely saved Matt’s life,” Elisa added. “I love you Matthew — thank you for being our hero, a complete f—— badass and for fighting with everything in you.”
Fee has since spoken out about the incident, telling CBC News that the wolf “was just so big.”
After hearing Elisa and Matthew’s calls for help, he ran over to their tent and could not believe what he saw.
Fee explained to CBC News that he thought he was going to encounter frightened parents who lost their children, but when he arrived to the site he saw the tent had been collapsed and the backside of the wolf was sticking out.
“It feels like a bit of an instant. I just kind of kept running at it yelling. I kicked it in the back half — kind of like trying to kicking in a door. Thankfully, I think it startled it enough that we were able to get it out,” Fee told CBC News.
Following the incident, Banff National Park announced that the Rampart Creek Campground, where the attack took place, would be temporarily closing.
“On Friday August 9, just after midnight, a wolf attacked a tent at a campground and one camper sustained injuries to their hand and arm,” the park confirmed in a statement on Facebook.
Officials later found the wolf and “destroyed” it.
“Parks Canada takes the protection of wildlife very seriously. In rare incidences such as these, the destruction of an individual animal is required to ensure public safety. Veterinary tests confirmed the wolf was in poor condition and likely nearing the end of its natural lifespan,” Banff National Park said.
The park later reopened on Tuesday.