Necker, Richard Branson’s private Caribbean island, has been “completely and utterly devastated” by Hurricane Irma, which passed over the British Virgin Islands with winds of up to 110 miles per hour.
The English business magnate wrote a blog post for Virgin on his satellite phone, saying he had “never seen anything like” Hurricane Irma and added that it was a “traumatic time” on the island. Branson explained that while the extent of the damage still needed to be assessed, “whole houses and trees have disappeared” and “bathroom and bedroom doors and windows have flown 40 feet away.”
Initially Branson, who sat out the storm in his underground wine cellar with his guests and team, wrote a blog post for Virgin earlier in the week, saying the buildings on Necker Island were “really strong” with hurricane blinds and “should be able to handle extreme weather pretty well.”
Branson’s son, Sam, posted on Instagram to say he was “glad to say that all humans on Necker are ok although a lot of buildings destroyed.” He added: “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.”
President Donald Trump is also believed to have had property damaged by Hurricane Irma. On Sept. 6, the Washington Post reported that the territory where Trump owns an 11-bedroom gated compound on Plum Bay, on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, had suffered widespread destruction, with 95% of the island destroyed. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida has since been evacuated as the state braces for the storm this weekend.