New Jersey couple Matt and Elisa Rispoli recall the wolf attack as being just like something you’d watch on TV — only it was happening to them in real life.
“It was like something out of a horror movie,” Elisa said. “We were screaming for help as he was fighting it and trying to save us.”
They were tent camping in Banff National Park in Canada with their two young sons when the unthinkable happened.
Rare Wolf Attack Has Family Fighting For Life
The family of four had turned in for the night. They were asleep when suddenly, the tent started shaking violently.
Matt Rispoli, a New Jersey police officer, immediately jumped into action, trying to protect his family. He figured a black bear was trying to get into the tent. But the truth is a wolf was attacking their site — something officials say is extremely rare.
Matt pushed back on the wall of the tent, only for something to clamp down on his hand.
"I tried to hit it, push back,” the brave dad recalled. “When my hand hit the tent, something snapped down on my hand.”
The walls came down and Matt found himself staring into the face of a wolf. It’s a surreal moment he’ll likely never forget.
“I could see the whole outline of its face, it was maybe 3 or 4 feet in front of me, staring right at me,” Matt Rispoli said.
Realizing his family was in danger, Matt did his best to fight back against the wolf attack.
Meanwhile, Elisa Rispoli threw herself on top of their two sons in an effort to shield them from the wild beast. Though Matt fought back fiercely, punching the wolf in its head and neck, nothing seemed to deter the wild animal.
"It started pulling backward and pulled me through the tent," Matt said.
Elisa tried to hold onto her husband for dear life. But the animal was intent on carrying off its prey. Thankfully, though, the family’s screams brought a guardian angel to their aid!
Guardian Angel Jumps In To Save Family
All the shouting awoke Russ Fee and his wife, who were asleep nearby in their own tent.
"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?'" Russ recalls.
The brave stranger, who is from Calgary, feared a child was missing. Instead, he found himself witness to a terrifying wolf attack!
Without hesitation, Russ ran at the wolf, who was trying to drag Matt away.
"I just kind of kept running at it and I just kicked it ... in the back hip area like I was kicking in a door," he said. "I booted it as hard as I could."
The impact startled the animal enough that he let go of Matt. The brave dad rushed out of the tent, covered in blood, and joined guardian angel Russ in throwing large rocks and yelling to push the wolf back.
This gave them all enough time to rush back to Russ’ campsite, where they all took shelter in the man’s minivan.
WATCH: Guardian Angel And Heroic Dad Fend Off Wolf Attack
Thanks to Russ’ intervention, the Rispoli family escaped the wolf attack and lived to tell the harrowing tale. They are back home and are “pretty traumatized but ok.”
“It could have been so so much worse,” Elisa wrote on social media, “and we are just feeling so thankful that we are all still sitting here as a complete family.”
God certainly put the right people in the right place to make sure everyone survived!
Park officials were able to hunt the wolf down to make sure it wouldn’t attack again. Thankfully, the animal did not have rabies. But they do think the wolf’s poor health was behind the attack on Matt Rispoli and his family.
Officials say an attack like this is extremely rare, especially considering the family didn’t have any food or any other items that might attract wild animals.
“The animal was in very poor health - it was very emaciated, it was only 78 pounds, whereas an adult male wolf could be 150 pounds or more,” Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife specialist for the park said. “It was unable to take down larger prey and probably struggling to find food, and we think this is why it investigated the tent.”
Officials also say fighting back was the right thing to do in a rare attack such as this.
Thank God for the quick-thinking of this heroic dad and his guardian angel!