A great white shark turned a 63-year-old woman’s laughter into screams in Maine’s first recorded fatal shark attack, according to reports.
Julie Dimperio Holowach was killed Monday after being bitten about 20 yards off Bailey Island as she swam with her daughter.
A neighbor who watched the horror unfold told the Portland Press Herald that he heard Holowach, a New York City resident who summered in the area, “giggling and laughing.” But seconds later, she “just started screaming for help,” said Tom Whyte, who saw the incident through binoculars from a building overlooking Mackerel Cove.
“All of a sudden, Julie went under,” he said. “It looked like she was pulled under.”
Her daughter screamed for help. Two kayakers pulled Holowach out of the water and brought her back to shore, Associated Press reported. But paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
Scientists used a tooth fragment to determine that the shark was a great white, Maine marine officials said. They added that Holowach, who was wearing a wetsuit, was likely mistaken for a seal, according to NBC New York.
The last documented shark attack in the state took place 10 years ago, per the station.
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