Shark terror: Student lands monster – as Maine reels after fatal attack
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The woman, New Yorker Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, died after she was apparently mistaken for a seal while swimming and was last seen being dragged beneath the waves on Monday. Student TJ Minutillo, 21, claims to have been catching – and releasing – sharks his entire life, and said he has landed 300 of them since he was three.
However, he admitted the bull shark he caught off Nickerson Beach – which he called a “jaws dropped” was exceptional, even by his standards.
Reacting to the news that five great white are believed to be lurking off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, he told the New York Post: “I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean in general so I think it’s really cool to see them around.
“However it can raise a bit of concern when you end up with a situation like the woman in Maine.”
Speaking about sharks, he said: “Most of the time they’re harmless. But freak things happen sometimes.”
Fashion executive Ms Holowach’s death was attributed to a great white after a tooth discovered embedded in her body was identified as belonging to the species, the shark depicted as a maneater in Stephen Spielberg’s 1976 classic, Jaws.
In a parallel with the movie, police in both Maine and New York have now deployed boats and helicopters to search for more killer sharks.
Beaches on Long Island have been temporarily closed after several sharks were seen in the ocean about about the same time Ms Holowach lost her life.
Long Island’s parks department logged two shark sightings were reported in Nassau County on Tuesday, with officials scouring the water using helicopters and boats.
Nickerson Beach, Long Beach, and Jones Beach State Park are currently closed.
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On Monday, in another echo of Jaws, swimmers were told to get out of the water in the county after two sharks were spotted, with a local television station suggesting it was a large bull shark between seven and 10 feet in length.
Scientists have warned a 16ft great white weighing in at more than 3,400 pounds nicknamed Mary Lee is likely to head to hunting grounds in Jersey this summer.
Another massive shark, 1,300 pound Caroline, also took up residence in the waters surrounding New York City recently.
Eyewitness, Steve Arnold, said of Ms Holowch: “I saw her lift a little bit out of the water – 12 to 18 inches maybe.”
Another swimmer, Charlie Wemyss-Dunn swan out to help Ms Holowach and brought her back to shore.
She was pronounced dead a short time later.
Her death is the first fatal shark attack ever recorded in the state of Maine.
The only other recorded shark attack involved a scuba diver in 2010.
Speaking on Monday, Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), said: “Today I have the sad duty of confirming that Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City, died yesterday as a result of a shark attack while swimming near Bailey Island.”
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