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Woman Killed By Great White Shark While Swimming In Maine, Officials Say

The attack is the first confirmed fatality from a shark attack in the state.

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Officials in Maine put swimming restrictions in place at several state parks after a woman was killed by a great white shark earlier this week. It was the first known fatal shark attack in the state’s history.

Julie Dimperio Holowach 63, was swimming 20 yards off the shore near White Sails Lane on Monday when she was fatally injured “in what appeared to be a shark attack,” the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) announced.

Dimperio Holowach was swimming 20 yards offshore with her daughter when she was attacked the department explained. Nearby kayakers who witnessed the incident then helped bring her to shore where she was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel. According to multiple reports, her daughter was not injured in the attack. 

"I want to first express my condolences to Julie's friends and family, and to thank the individuals who responded and help bring this situation to a closure," DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a statement.

Keliher confirmed, after consulting with Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries Senior Scientist Gregory Skomal Ph.D, that the shark involved in the incident was a great white shark. He also said “It is the only confirmed fatality in Maine waters from a shark attack."

“Though sightings are relatively rare, white sharks have long been known to be seasonal inhabitants of the Gulf of Maine, and they have been observed preying on seals and porpoises in Maine's coastal waters,” the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy stated in reference to the attack. “Sightings data, catch records, and tagging data indicate white sharks occur in the region from the early summer through the fall.”

According to a CNN report, the Maine Marine Patrol surveyed the area by boat and air on Tuesday but didn't observe any sharks. However, officials still restricted swimmers to waist-deep water at several state parks.

Dimperio Holowach was a former fashion industry executive. She was previously president of Kipling Bags and served on the board of directors for Sea Bags of Portland.