Man saves New Jersey family from wolf attack at Canada's Banff National Park
A New Jersey family is thanking the "guardian angel" who saved them from a wolf attack at Canada's Banff National Park.
Elisa Rispoli was camping with her family when a wolf approached their tent at around 1 a.m. last Friday morning. Elisa's husband, Matt, put himself between his family and the animal, which then attacked him.
"It was like something out of a horror movie," Elisa recounted in a Facebook post on Tuesday. "I cannot and don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror."
Elisa said the wolf started dragging her husband away as she grabbed his legs and tried to pull him back. Russ Fee, a neighboring camper, overheard the commotion and stepped in.
"The screams were so intense that I knew it was obviously a terrible situation," Fee told Candian news outlet CBC. "So I just kind of kept running at [the wolf], and I just kicked it sort of in the back hip area."
Fee said he immediately regretted kicking the wolf.
"I felt like I had kind of punched someone that was way out of my weight class," he told CBC.
Fee and Matt began screaming at the animal, and it eventually ran away. Elisa's Facebook post called Fee a "guardian angel."
The group then ran to Fee's van and traveled to a nearby hospital, according to CNN. Elisa wrote that Matt, who suffered puncture wounds and lacerations on his arms, is recovering well.
"It could have been so, so much worse," Elisa said on Facebook. "And we are just feeling so thankful that we are all still sitting here as a complete family."
"We are forever grateful to Russ [Fee] who came to our aid and likely saved Matt’s life," her post went on to say.
Attacks like this are incredibly rare in Canada. According to the country's national parks service, this is the first time a wolf attack has been reported inside one of its parks.
"There have been two other incidents in provincial parks, one in [British Columbia] and one in Ontario," Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife management specialist for Parks Canada told CBC. "These three incidents are the only ones where people have actually been injured [in protected areas like provincial parks and national parks]."
Parks Canada confirmed in a Facebook post on Tuesday that it had found and killed the wolf involved in Friday's attack. The agency also said that it had reopened the campsite where the incident took place.