The state of Maine has restricted swimmers and increased the number of spotters on the beach after a great white shark killed a 63-year-old woman who was swimming offshore this week.
State officials temporarily limited swimming to waist-deep water at 10 state parks with beaches until further notice, as sharks typically avoid shallow water. They also banned swimming at the Fox Islands further off the mainland.
“Swimmers are going to be asked to stay in waist-high water out of caution,” Jim Britt, spokesman for the Maine department of agriculture, conservation and forestry, said on Wednesday.
Lifeguards were on duty and extra staff were assigned to search for sharks, but there were no shark sightings on Tuesday, Britt said.
Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, probably died instantaneously when bitten by a shark near Harpswell on Monday, officials said. She was swimming with her daughter at the time and brought to shore by kayakers and pronounced dead at the scene.
“The death was probably instantaneous because of the force of the trauma,” the Harpswell fire administrator, Arthur Howe, told the Bangor Daily News.
Gregory Skomal of the Massachusetts division of marine fisheries identified the shark as a great white based on a tooth fragment that were recovered, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Although longtime local residents told media they had never heard of a fatal shark attack before, Skomal told the Boston Globe that great whites have been recorded in the Gulf of Maine going back hundreds of years.