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Great white shark kills woman in rare attack in Maine, authorities say

Maine has recorded only one shark attack since 1837, researchers say.
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Authorities said a woman was killed Monday by a great white shark in Maine, a state that researchers say has recorded only one confirmed unprovoked attack in nearly 200 years.

The Maine Marine Patrol said in a statement that the woman was attacked while swimming near Bailey Island, northeast of Portland. She was identified Tuesday as Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The patrol said an eyewitness reported seeing the attack. Kayakers brought Holowach to shore, the statement said.

Holowach, who was wearing a wetsuit, may have attracted the shark because her attire mimicked the appearance of a seal, officials said Tuesday.

She was swimming with her daughter, who was not injured. Citing a witness, NBC affiliate WCSH reported seeing two people in the water at the time of the attack. One was thrown into the air and suffered serious injuries, the witness said.

Authorities were able to use a fragment of a tooth to identify the shark as a great white. Great white sharks are the world's largest predatory fish and are dwindling in numbers due to hunting, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

According to researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark attacks in the United States and around the world, the state has recorded only one attack since 1837. It’s unclear if that attack was fatal.

Attacks in the northeast are generally rare, with New York State and Massachusetts logging 18 between them, according to the database.

Florida has recorded 852 attacks, the most in the world, according to the database.