An extremely rare and terrifying incident took place on Friday when a New Jersey family were attacked in their camping tent by a wolf at Banff National Park. Following the horrifying incident, a man was hospitalized with hand and arm injuries, the park was temporarily closed, and the wolf was euthanized. According to reports, there was no sign of food or wildlife attractants close to the family and their tent, making the attack an extremely rare and isolated incident.
Following their heart-wrenching ordeal, the family has spoken out about the wolf attack regarding the heroic manner in which husband and father of two, Matt Rispoli, threw himself in front of the animal in order to protect his family. According to a Facebook post from Elisa Rispoli, Matt’s wife, “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.”
The incident took place on Aug. 9, during a family vacation to Banff National Park, Alberta. Although there are wolves in the park, their contact with humans is minimal, and it is incredibly rare for them to approach, let alone attack, humans in the area. According to Elisa Rispoli, the family was sleeping in the evening when the wolf suddenly attacked, tearing through the materials of their tent.
Describing the attack as “something out of a horror movie,” Elisa explained how her husband fought the creature, while the family screamed in an attempt to get help. Although their ordeal only lasted minutes, Elisa described the attack as feeling like it lasted for “an eternity.” According to her Facebook post, there was even a moment when Matt Rispoli was holding open the jaws of the wolf, attempting to pin it down before he was dragged away by the animal.
Elisa wrote, “I cannot and don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror,” as she explained how she attempted to pull her husband from the jaws of the wolf, while it attempted to drag him away. Thankfully, a “guardian angel” was on hand, and was able to throw a huge rock at the animal in order to release Matt from its jaw.
Russ Fee awoke to the sounds of screams in a nearby tent and was horrified to discover a wolf attacking a young family. Russ told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday. "It was just so much larger than any dog I've ever seen." Fee was able to continue to throw huge rocks at the wolf, while the family rushed to his minivan for safety.
Thankfully, everybody involved in the incident was okay, although Matt was admitted to hospital with “puncture wounds, and lacerations on his hands and arms.”
In her Facebook post, Elisa paid tribute to Russ Fee and to her husband's heroics, writing, “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.”
She concluded the post by adding, “I love you Matthew — thank you for being our hero, a complete fucking badass and for fighting with everything in you.”
Banff National Park has now reopened to the public since the incident, and experts are reassuring the public that such attacks are extremely rare and isolated.