Everyone emerged from the cellar okay, but other buildings on the island resort weren't so lucky.
Richard Branson, the billionaire business magnate behind the Virgin Group and the 324th richest person alive, can afford all of life's luxuries—including a residence on a private island in the British Virgin Islands. However, no amount of money can stop a hurricane as Branson was recently reminded when he decided to ride out Hurricane Irma from the wine cellar of his home on Necker Island which faced the full brunt of the Category 5 storm.
Yesterday, in a blog post on Virgin's website entitled "The night before Hurricane Irma arrives," Branson explained firsthand his experience leading up to the massive storm. "We have just experienced a night of howling wind and rain as Hurricane Irma edges ever closer towards us on Necker and the British Virgin Islands," the post began. Necker, which Branson purchased in 1978, not only serves as the billionaire's home, but also operates as a small luxury resort. Though all guests were sent home, Branson, as well as about two rooms worth of family and staff, decided to stay. The 74-acre island is typically home to about 100 workers.
"We are expecting to get the full force of the hurricane in around five hours' time, when we will retreat to a concrete wine cellar under the Great House," Branson continued, before ending on a humorous note. "Knowing our wonderful team as I do, I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge."
Reporting on the aftermath, Richard Branson's son, Sam, posted on Instagram that everyone made it out fine. "Glad to say that all humans on Necker are ok although a lot of buildings destroyed," he wrote. "Very concerned for our friends and everyone on the neighbouring islands and people in its path. Please don't take this hurricane lightly if it is heading your way. If your building is not very solid, do find somewhere safe! Homes can be rebuilt but lives can't."
In an update on the Virgin Limited Edition site's blog, Branson's team pledged to help with recovery efforts writing, "we will do whatever we can to support and assist our local community through this extremely testing time."
No word on how much wine was actually consumed, though obviously everyone in the region has bigger concerns, and wine cellars can always be restocked.