A woman was killed by a great white shark while swimming with her daughter just off the coast of Maine.
The incident occurred near Bailey Island, Harpswell, where 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach, the former Kipling president, was enjoying the water with her daughter when a great white shark closed in and grabbed her.
According to the US Coast Guard, they were informed of the shark attack around 3.30 in the afternoon after Julie’s daughter swam to the shore and started calling for help.
Responding to her calls for help were two kayakers who helped the uninjured daughter pull the body of her mother out of the water. She was later pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a maritime expert, the shark behind the shocking attack could have mistaken the pair for food. Therefore, swimmers have been urged to avoid swimming in the proximity of seals and schools of fish.
Speaking of the incident to The Boston Globe, one witness, Tom Whyte, said he saw the pair laughing and having a good time moments before the mother was pulled underneath the surface.
Another onlooker allegedly spoke out to News Center Maine and told the outlet that “she saw a woman thrown up in the air while swimming.”
Following the incident, authorities confirmed no additional sightings of the shark have been reported since the attack.
According to the officials, nearby beaches will remain open because the attack was “highly unusual.”
“Julie and her husband were very respected individuals, and the community is really at a tough juncture now,” Marine Patrol’s Major Rob Beale said of Julie and her family after the tragedy.
Confirming that the shark attack indeed was a rare incident was maritime expert and shark researcher James Sulikowski who told Press Herald that “this is the first documented fatality ever in Maine.”
“Shark interactions with humans are very rare in Maine. My guess is that the person was mistaken as a food item. In this area of Maine and depending on how close to shore the event occurred, my guess is it was a white shark,” Sulikowski said in an interview with Press Herald.