A New Jersey woman said her family's camping trip in Canada turned into a scene "out of a horror movie" when a wolf ripped apart their tent as they slept and tried to drag her husband away — before a man at a nearby campsite heard their screams for help and came to their rescue.
Elisa Rispoli, her husband, Matthew Rispoli, and their two young boys were at Rampart Creek Campground in Banff National Park in Alberta when she said they were attacked.
"Matt literally threw his body in front of me and the boys, and fought the Wolf as it ripped apart our tent and his arms and hands," she wrote in an August 9 Facebook post.
Elisa Rispoli said her husband tried to pin the wolf on the ground, but the animal started to drag him away.
"I was pulling on his legs trying to get him back," the post read. "I cannot and don't think I'll ever be able to properly describe the terror."
A man, identified by local media as Russ Fee, was at a nearby campsite and ran over to help after hearing the family screaming for help, Elisa Rispoli wrote.
Fee, who is from Calgary and was camping with his family, told the Calgary Eyeopener that when he arrived at the Rispoli's site "their entire tent had mostly collapsed" and he could see the wolf trying to pull Matthew Rispoli away.
Fee told the outlet that he ran toward the animal and kicked it as hard as he could.
"It startled it enough that it let Matt go," he said. "Matt came flying out. His whole half side was just covered in blood."
Matthew Rispoli and Fee started screaming at the wolf and throwing rocks at it to scare it away as everyone ran to Fee's campsite.
Elisa Rispoli said the incident "was something out of a horror movie." It lasted only a couple of minutes, but "felt like an eternity," she wrote.
"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," her Facebook post read.
Matthew Rispoli was treated at the hospital for injuries to his hands and arms and is doing fine, she said.
Rampart Creek Campground was temporarily closed following the attack, a spokesperson for Parks Canada said in a press release. It reopened on Monday following an investigation into the incident.
The wolf believed to have attacked the family was tracked down and killed "to ensure public safety," spokesperson Lesley Matheson said.
"Veterinary tests have confirmed that the wolf was in poor condition and likely nearing the end of its natural life span. The wolf’s condition was likely a contributing factor for its unusual behavior and this remains a very rare incident," Matheson said.