A family's summer vacation went terribly wrong in the middle of the night when, they say, they were attacked by a wolf.
Elise Rispoli took to social media to share the harrowing experience her family of four went through on their trip to Banff National Park, a popular wilderness destination outside of Calgary, Canada.
"It was like something out of a horror movie," Rispoli shared on Facebook, adding that her husband 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. 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)."
Rispoli explains she lay on top of her kids to protect them while her husband tried to fight off the attacking animal.
"The wolf started to drag Matt away, while I was pulling on his legs trying to get him back. I cannot and don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror," she wrote.
Luckily for the family, the attack was interrupted by a good Samaritan who was camping nearby.
"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," she explained.
Their rescuer opened up about the experience in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday. “I threw my shoes on. My wife tossed me a lantern,”Russ Fee, a father of two from nearby Calgary, told the outlet. “I popped out of the tent and just started running toward their tent sort of yelling, ‘I’m here! I’m here! What’s wrong?’”
"It was just so much larger than any dog I've ever seen," said Fee. "It was just so quick and the screams were so intense, that I knew it was obviously a terrible situation, so I just kind of kept running at it and I just kicked it sort of in the back hip area."
Matt suffered "puncture wounds, and lacerations on his hands and arms" according to Rispoli's post but is doing ok, thanks to the courage and speedy reaction of the family's campground neighbor.
After the attack, the campground was evacuated and Parks Canada confirmed it killed the wolf responsible for the attack the next morning.
According to reports, the wolf was severely underweight and in poor health, which could explain why it attacked.
"An individual wolf that’s on its own has a much lower chance of being able to catch prey, which means it’s going to have less ability to feed itself," Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife management specialist with Parks Canada," told the Star Calgary.
"Without that ability, it’s going to be looking for other food sources. An incident like this where it’s taking the opportunity to possibly consider humans as food is what we’re thinking is the reason for the attack."
Rispoli, who declined to comment further on the family's experience when reached by TODAY, took the opportunity in her Facebook post to share her gratitude and remind friends of the importance of appreciating your loved ones.
"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 wrote.
"Go give the people you love most a big kiss and let ‘em know."