Woman, 63, killed by great white shark 20 yards off Maine coast


Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City was identified Tuesday by The Maine Department of Marine Resource as the woman who died in a shark attack Monday

A 63-year-old New York City woman died Monday after she was attacked by a great white shark off the coast of Maine. 

Julie Dimperio Holowach was swimming in a wetsuit with her daughter near Bailey Island, Harpswell, when an eyewitness saw her ‘dip under the water’. Experts say the shark may have mistaken her for a seal. 

The U.S. Coast Guard said it was alerted to a shark attack just after 3.30pm after Holowach’s uninjured daughter, who was in a blue one piece swim suit, swam back to shore, calling for help.

Two kayakers were able to help Holowach, the former president of accessories brand Kipling, back to shore so she could be treated on land. Marine Patrol says she woman was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. 

One onlooker told News Center Maine Holowach had appeared to be ‘thrown up in the air by something underwater’. 

Another, Tom Whyte, told The Boston Globe he watched as the mother and daughter laughed and enjoyed their time in the water before seeing Holowach flailing her arms. 

After seeing her mom disappear under the water Holowach’s daughter is said to have swam back to the shore for help. She then collapsed on the sand, screaming for help, according to witnesses. 

Two kayakers then headed out to help bring her body back to the shore. 

She was swimming in a wetsuit with her daughter near Bailey Island, Harpswell, when an eyewitness saw her 'dip under the water'

She was swimming in a wetsuit with her daughter near Bailey Island, Harpswell, when an eyewitness saw her ‘dip under the water’

The U.S. Coast Guard said it was alerted to a shark attack just after 3.30pm after Holowach's uninjured daughter, who was in a blue one piece swim suit, swam back to shore, calling for help

The U.S. Coast Guard said it was alerted to a shark attack just after 3.30pm after Holowach’s uninjured daughter, who was in a blue one piece swim suit, swam back to shore, calling for help

Officials confirmed there have been no additional sightings of the shark after the initial contact in a press conference Tuesday morning. 

They called the attack ‘highly unusual’ and said beaches would not be closed but urged swimmers to avoid schools of fish and seals. 

Holowach and her husband are understood to own a property in the area, spending the summer months there.   

Patrick Keliher of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said a recovered tooth fragment confirmed a great white was responsible for the attack.

Major Rob Beale of the state Marine Patrol added: ‘Julie and her husband were very respected individuals, and the community is really at a tough juncture now.’ 

Police confirmed that the Coast Guard was in the process of sending a small boat in the rescue effort but stopped when they learned two kayakers helped bring those two people in the water back to shore. 

Back at shore they were met by members of the Harpswell EMS squad. 

Julie Dimpero, then President of Kipling and Helena Christensen attend the Kipling By Helena Christensen Launch Event at Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop on April 10, 2013

Julie Dimpero, then President of Kipling and Helena Christensen attend the Kipling By Helena Christensen Launch Event at Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop on April 10, 2013

Holowach was the former president of accessories brand Kipling

Holowach was the former president of accessories brand Kipling

Holowach was the former president of accessories brand Kipling

The incident took place in Harpswell, Maine

The incident took place in Harpswell, Maine

Swimmers and boaters are now being urged to use caution near Bailey Island and to avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals until further notice. 

Dr. James Sulikowski, a professor at Arizona State University who conducts shark research in New England, said: ‘Shark interactions with humans are very rare in Maine. My guess is that the person (who was attacked) was mistaken as a food item. 

‘In this area of Maine and depending on how close to shore the event occurred, my guess it was a white shark,’ he said to the Press Herald.

Sulikowksi said a seal was bitten on Sunday in Phippsburg, Maine by a shark and died later.

Kipling President Julie Dimperio attends Kipling's 25th Anniversary celebration in 2012

Kipling President Julie Dimperio attends Kipling’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 2012 

Anne Nearman and Julie Dimperio attend Kipling's 25th Anniversary celebration

Anne Nearman and Julie Dimperio attend Kipling’s 25th Anniversary celebration

Bailey Island, Harpswell near where Holowach was swimming is pictured

Bailey Island, Harpswell near where Holowach was swimming is pictured

Kipling is well known for their signature, furry monkey keychain (stock image)

Kipling is well known for their signature, furry monkey keychain (stock image)



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