A New York woman, swimming with family, has died in a rare shark attack.

Julie Dimperio Holowach, of New York City, was killed 20 yards from shore on Bailey Island in Maine. She was swimming with a family member when the attack occurred. Nearby kayakers helped bring Julie to shore where she was pronounced dead, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Al Holowach/FB
Al Holowach/FB

The shark was confirmed to be a great white according to the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries. Senior Scientist Gregory Skomal, who is involved in shark research, was able to identify the shark as a great white through evidence provided by the Maine Marine Patrol and the medical examiners office.

Shark attacks are very rare in Maine. "It is the only confirmed fatality in Maine waters from a shark attack," said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. The only other confirmed shark attack in Maine waters occurred 10 years ago, and that shark was reported to be a porbeagle.

Although a shark attack in Maine waters is extremely rare, Keliher warns people to use caution when swimming or paddling in areas where there are schooling fish or seals. "Seals feed on fish and sharks feed on seals. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid schools of fish or seals, which attract sharks."

The Maine Marine Patrol will monitor the area near Bailey Island for sharks. The public is asked to report any shark sightings to the local marine patrol officer at maine.gov.

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