The incident occurred off the coast of Bailey Island in Harpswell, Maine

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shark attack
Bailey Island
| Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

A woman in Maine is dead after an apparent shark attack off the coast of Bailey Island in Harpswell.

An eyewitness said the woman 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. The identity of the woman was not released.

“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.”

Officials said that the Maine Marine Patrol has launch an investigation into the incident. For now, swimmers and boaters are urged to use caution around Bailey Island and avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals.

Shark attacks in Maine are very rare, according to the International Shark Attack File, a database that documents shark attacks around the world. The ISAF said on its website that there has been only one unprovoked shark attack in the state since 1837.

In 2010, a scuba diver named Scott MacNichol came face-to-face with a porbeagle shark while swimming off the coast of Eastport, Maine, the Associated Press reported.

Though MacNichol was uninjured in the incident, the wild sea creature took a chomp at the diver's camera equipment. The harrowing encounter was caught on video.

“He took a couple of bites at the camera. When he did that I was pretty much petrified,” MacNichol told the outlet. “If you watch the video, you can hear me screaming underwater.”

Chris Heinig, who was on the dive boat at the water's surface during the incident, said at the time that the shark was probably drawn to the light and silver casing of MacNichol's camera.

"I think it came up and bumped the camera to see what it was," Heinig told Associated Press. "But I honestly don't think the shark attacked Scott."