Authorities in Maine said Tuesday the shark that killed a woman in a rare attack off the state's coast was a great white, the same type of shark that served as the inspiration for the movie Jaws. The shark bite killed Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said. The shark fatally bit Holowach off Bailey Island on Monday while she was swimming. Scientists were able to later identify the shark as a great white using a tooth fragment, state officials said. Great whites aren't common in Maine, which is the northern tip of their range, but recent summers have brought reports of sightings of the giant fish, the AP reports. Authorities say two kayakers helped got Holowach to shore, but she was pronounced dead at the scene,
There had previously only been one recorded unprovoked shark attack in Maine, and it was 10 years ago off Eastport, Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said. He said that bite involved a different species of shark. He described the Monday attack as "highly unusual," but added that it is cause for vigilance among beachgoers. "The rarity of this event does not mean it’s not going to happen again," Keliher said. The Marine Patrol has urged swimmers and boaters to use caution near Bailey Island and to avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals. Large sharks like great whites prey on seals, which are common off Maine. Two coastal state parks, Popham and Reid, are not allowing swimmers beyond waist deep water, state officials said.
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