Billionaire adventure-seeker and founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, has decided to stay on his private island in the British Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, despite warnings. He and a group of young people will wait out the worst of the hurricane in his wine cellar, he wrote on Virgin’s website.
“I will be on Necker alongside our team if Hurricane Irma hits, as I have been each time we’ve got a hurricane here,” Branson wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“The atmosphere is eerie but beautiful. Everyone is willing the eye of the storm to veer away from the BVI [British Virgin Islands] in these last few hours. As I wrote yesterday, our main concern is safety, for everyone here and for all the people in the BVI and in the path of the hurricane,” Branson wrote on Virgin’s website.
“All of us slept together in two rooms. I haven’t had a sleepover quite like it since I was a kid. Strangely, it’s a privilege to experience what is turning into possibly the strongest storm ever with such a great group of young people,” he added.
Irma is a Category 5 storm and packs winds of 185 miles per hour; it is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, and the state of Florida is in its path of destruction.
Hurricane Irma made landfall in the northeast Caribbean on Wednesday morning. Puerto Rico was also bracing for the worst of the storm.
Branson purchased his Necker Island in 1979 for $180,000. He has since opened a luxury resort there, which has hosted many celebrities.
“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. Knowing our wonderful team as I do, I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge,” Branson said.