HARPSWELL, Maine (AP) – The state Marine Patrol says a woman has been killed in an apparent shark attack off the coast of Maine, a rare occurrence that has only been recorded once before in the state by an unprovoked shark.
Authorities say the woman killed off the state’s coast was a 63-year-old resident of New York City. The Maine Department of Marine Resources says the shark bite killed Julie Dimperio Holowach.
The shark fatally bit Holowach off Bailey Island on Monday while she was swimming. The marine patrol said a witness saw Holowach swimming off the shore of Bailey Island when she was injured.
Two kayakers then helped her get to shore, and an ambulance provided further assistance, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
George Burgess, Director Emeritus of Florida Program for Shark Research explained that this kind of attack is very uncommon: “It’s the cooler waters of Maine, [they] are not very favorable to most species of sharks. But one it is favorable to, unfortunately and perhaps was involved in this case, is the white shark, which we know is being found in greater abundance now.”
Several sharks have been spotted off the Atlantic coast of Long Island recently, too. At least one was a bull shark; they can grow 11 feet long and are known to be aggressive.
Beaches in the area are closed indefinitely.