Wednesday 29 July 2020

Woman dies in Shark attack off the coast of Maine.

A woman has died in a Shark attack near Portland in Maine on Monday 27 July 2020. Julie Holowach, 63, from New York, who had recently retired to the area, was swimming about 18 m off shore near Mackerel Cove on Baily Island, with her daughter, when she was attacked by a Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, which dragged her below the water before releasing her and withdrawing, a pattern typical of Great White attacks. Ms Holowach was helped ashore by two kayakers but subsequently died of her injuries; she was later found to have a tooth embedded in her leg, which has been used to confirm the nature of the Shark which attacked her. This is only the second Shark attack ever recorded in Maine; the first being an attack on a diver by a Porbeagle Shark, Lamna nasus, in 2010, which did not result in any injury.

Julie Holowach, 63, killed by a Great White Shark off the coast of Mackerel Cove, Maine, on 27 July 2020. Julie Holowach/Facebook.

Despite their fearsome reputation, attacks by Sharks are relatively rare, and most  attacks on Humans by Great White Sharks are thought to be mistakes. The species feeds principally on Marine Mammals, which we superficially resemble when we enter the water, gaining the majority of their nutrition from the thick adipose (fat) layers of these animals, which we lack. Due to this, when Great Whites do attack Humans these attacks are often broken off without the victim being consumed. Such attacks frequently result in severe injuries, but are seldom immediately fatal, with victims likely to survive if they receive immediate medical attention.
A Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias. Mauricio Hoyos/Florida Museum.
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