The first confirmed fatal shark attack in Maine took place on Monday when 63 year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach was killed by a great white shark when swimming with her daughter by Bailey Island. Holowach was wearing a wet suit and her daughter was uninjured. 

Holowach was brought back to shore by nearby kayakers and pronounced dead on the scene. Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher said in a press conference that it was “nothing more than miraculous” that the kayakers were able to bring her back to shore. The Massachusetts Division of Maine Fisheries were able to label Holowach’s death as a great white shark attack by a tooth fragment left behind.

Holowach was from New York City, but owned property in the Harpswell area of Maine. Holowach was the president of handbag company Kipling USA. A spokesperson for Kipling said in a statement that said Holowch was an “incredible leader who brought out the best in her team and colleagues.” It went on, “She will be missed by our industry, our company, and as a friend to so many.”

Holowach was also on the board of directors for a company called Sea Bags, which is a handbag maker located in Portland, Maine. The CEO of the company Don Oakes said he was “extremely shocked and saddened” by Holowach’s death. He added, “Her passion for the ocean, the state of Maine and causes we believe in made her an invaluable supporter and friend. We will deeply miss Julie’s enthusiasm and positive spirit.”

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