It was about half past midnight when Russ Fee woke up to the sound of frantic shouts coming from a campsite next to his in Canada’s Banff National Park. From within his tent, he listened, quickly discerning that the voices belonged to a man and a woman. They were screaming for help.
“I threw my shoes on. My wife tossed me a lantern,” Fee said in an interview Tuesday with the radio show “Calgary Eyeopener.” “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?'”
Fee, who is from Calgary, told the program that he expected to find “two really scared parents” whose child had wandered off into the woods. Instead, the sight that greeted him was much more distressing.
The family’s tent was in shambles, Fee said, and sticking out of its entrance was the rear end of a large wolf.
In what officials with Parks Canada are calling a “very rare incident,” a wolf attacked a New Jersey couple and their two children who were visiting the national park in Banff, Alberta, early Friday – a harrowing encounter that may have ended differently if it weren’t for Fee’s quick thinking, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
“We are forever grateful to Russ who came to our aid,” Elisa Rispoli, whose husband, Matt, was injured in the attack, wrote on Facebook. Describing Fee as a “guardian angel,” Elisa added that the Canadian man probably saved her husband’s life.
“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,” she wrote.
The Rispolis were asleep in their tent at the park’s Rampart Creek Campground when they were jolted awake after midnight by the wolf.
“It was like something out of a horror movie,” Elisa wrote in the Facebook post.