Maine officials have identified the first woman ever killed in an unprovoked shark attack in the state.
Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City died Monday after a great white shark bit her about 20 yards off the western shore of Bailey Island, Maine Department of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher said in a statement Tuesday.
The Maine Marine Patrol said a witness saw Holowach swimming when she was injured. Two kayakers took her to shore, and first responders later arrived, but she was confirmed dead at the scene. The kayakers asked to remain unidentified.
“They happened to be right there at the scene. They were courageous enough to jump in and retrieve the victim,” Jeff Cooper, a kayaking operator in the area, told The Associated Press.
Holowach and her family own property in the area and are well-known in the community, said Rob Beal, major of the Maine Marine Patrol, in a news conference Tuesday.
Officials were able to confirm that a great white shark bit her based on evidence from the Marine Patrol and from the medical examiner's office.
Only one other shark attack has ever been reported in Maine, Keliher confirmed, but that involved a different species. It also took place a decade ago.
"We urge swimmers and others recreating in or on the water in the Casco bay region, and in particular near Bailey Island to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid schools of fish or seals, which attract sharks," said Keliher in a statement.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NYC woman killed in Maine's first great white shark attack identified