Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was killed in the attack off Bailey Island in the Casco Bay town of Harpswell

By Nicholas Rice
July 28, 2020 04:16 PM
Advertisement
Bailey Island
NEWS CENTER Maine

A victim has been identified in the great white shark attack that took place in Maine on Monday.

According to a report from The Boston Globe, Julie Dimperio Holowach was killed in the attack off Bailey Island in the Casco Bay town of Harpswell, in what authorities are deeming the first fatal shark attack ever in Maine. She was 63.

Per the report, Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, confirmed it was a great white shark attack with the help of a fragment of a tooth the shark left behind, and with one Massachusetts’ top experts on great white sharks.

"I want to stress that this is a highly unusual event," Keliher said before warning, "we encourage everybody to be vigilant."

He added: "At this time, the [Department of Marine Resources] is urging swimmers and other people recreating in or around the waters of the Casco Bay region and, in particular, near Bailey’s Island, to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid schools of fish, which will attract seals. The seals, in turn, will attract sharks."

Resident Tom Whyte told the Boston Globe that he saw two people head out to swim on Monday afternoon, one in a black wetsuit and the other in a blue one-piece swimsuit.

He said he watched the duo paddle northward about 20 yards from shore before he noticed Dimperio Holowach in the water with her arms flailing.

The other woman — later identified as Dimperio Holowach's daughter by authorities — quickly swam back to shore uninjured, where she screamed for help.

Per the report, The US Coast Guard launched a small response boat after receiving word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., but turned around after discovering that Dimperio Holowach had been brought to land by nearby kayakers. She was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived on the scene.

Neighbors described Dimperio Holowach as a seasonal resident of the island, according to the Boston Globe.

Marie Schmon, another island resident, described Dimperio Holowach as a "welcoming, warm, civic-minded" woman who "always a smile on her face."

RELATED VIDEO: Shark Expert Jamin Martinelli Says Sharks Read Body Language: 'Just Remain Calm'

An eyewitness previously said that Dimperio Holowach was swimming near White Sails Lane on Monday when she was injured in what appeared to be an encounter with a shark, according to a statement from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Kayakers nearby were able to bring the woman to shore, but she was pronounced dead when first responders arrived at the scene, the department said.

"We just heard her cries and we came out and we kayaked out and we did our best, but, you know, at this time, I think that’s all I want to say," a kayaker at the scene told 7NEWS. "We’re all in shock."