On Monday afternoon, about 3:30, Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, a retired New York fashion industry executive, went swimming with her daughter off Bailey Island in Casco Bay, Maine, near her family’s vacation home. She was about 20 yards offshore, and she was wearing a black wet suit.
She was happy and laughing. Suddenly, she was flailing around. Her daughter swam back to shore and screamed for help.
Some kayakers brought Ms Holowach’s badly injured body back to shore, while someone called paramedics. She was pronounced dead by first responders.
Shark attacks are extremely rare in Maine. Indeed, this is the first fatality, and just the second documented shark attack, since 1837.
At a news conference the next day, Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said that a recovered tooth fragment was used to confirm that Ms Holowach was killed by a great white shark.
Seal populations have been flourishing in New England waters in the past few years, and they are a prime food source for great whites. James Sulikowski, a professor at Arizona State University who studies sharks, told the Portland Press Herald that the presence of seals in the area could account for the attack. “We can easily be mistaken for a seal,” he said, “as a shark’s dinner.”
Bailey Island is in the town of Harpswell in Casco Bay northeast of Portland. After the attack, the state’s Department of Marine Resources said, “Until further notice, swimmers and boaters are urged to use caution near Bailey Island to avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals.” Read more: