A sign at Land’s End at The tip of Bailey Island tells swimmers the beach is closed on Tuesday. The sign was put up because of the recent shark attack at Mackerel Cove, just down the road. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Kayaker Charlie Wemyss-Dunn wasn’t sure what was going on even as he raced to save the New York City woman who was getting attacked by a shark right in front of him in the surf off Bailey Island.

Wemyss-Dunn told Good Morning America on Wednesday that he was about to get on the water to grab 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach “essentially because I still thought it could be a boat propeller or some sort of accident like that. My wife was obviously starting to scream at me to not get in the water, and I started to put it together that it may have been something else, like a shark attack.”

Holowach was swimming in Mackerel Cove off Bailey Island in Harpswell about 3:26 p.m. Monday when she was attacked. Wemyss-Dunn and his mother brought her ashore near White Sails Lane, where attempts to save her were unsuccessful. A tooth fragment was recovered from the mishap and was confirmed to belong to a great white shark.

“We initially tried to keep her head out of the water with a paddle because we didn’t want her to drown,” Wemyss-Dunn, told WMTW. “My mom held her hand and we gently pulled her in to the shore and waiting there were the neighbors who were able to take her arms and pull her up to the rocks.”