New Jersey Family on Camping Trip Woke Up to a Wolf Attacking Them
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
August 17, 2019
A New Jersey family who wanted to go on a camping trip to Banff National Park in Canada, ended up having a horrifying experience after a wolf ripped the family's tent apart and attempted to drag the father away.
According to an Aug. 9 Facebook post, Elisa Rispoli, her husband and their two young boys were camping at Rampart Creek Campground near Alberta, Canada when they were attacked by the wolf.
"It was like something out of a horror movie. 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," Elisa wrote. "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)."
Elisa says she threw her body on top of their kids while her husband, Matt, worked to pin the wolf to the ground and hold its jaw using only his hands. That's when the wolf began dragging Matt away, even as she struggled to hang onto him.
"I cannot and don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror," Elisa wrote.
That's when another camper heard the family's screams and ran to the Rispoli's campsite to try and help.
"A guardian angel from the tent site next to us, who we later found out was named Russ, heard our screams and 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."
The camper, identified by local media as Russ Fee, told the Calgary Eyeopener that when he arrived at the Rispoli's campsite, he could see that the family's "entire tent had mostly collapsed." He also saw the wolf trying to pull Matt Rispoli away.
Fee told the paper that he ran at the wolf and kicked at 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."
The two men began throwing rocks at the wolf, screaming at it to get away while the rest of the Rispoli family fled to Fee's campsite.
"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."
Matt Rispoli was treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained to his hands and arms and is expected to recover.
Officials closed Rampart Creek Campground following the attack, a park spokesperson said in a press release about the incident. It was reopened on Monday after an investigation into the incident. The wolf that's believed to have attacked the family was killed
"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," spokesperson Lesley Matheson said.