Billionaire's private island destroyed by Irma
A 74-acre island owned by billionaire Sir Richard Branson has been ravaged by Hurricane Irma.
Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, decided to ride out the storm on his island off the coast of the British Virgin Islands.
"Glad to say that all humans on Necker are OK although a lot of buildings destroyed," Branson tweeted.
Boats piled up after the passage of Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands — Contributed
"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."
The British billionaire, speaking via satellite phone, described the ordeal as frightening.
“We took shelter from the strongest hurricane ever inside the concrete cellar on Necker and very, very fortunately it held firm.”
“We are still assessing the damage, but whole houses and trees have disappeared," Branson said.
“Outside of the bunker, bathroom and bedroom doors and windows have flown 40 feet away," his son Sam wrote on Instagram.
The death toll from Hurricane Irma is estimated at nine. Four persons died in the French territory of St Martin, three in Puerto Rico, and one in the British overseas territory of Anguilla, as well as a toddler who was killed on the island of Barbuda, which was all but destroyed by the fury of Irma’s 185mph winds and deadly storm surge.
Irma is on course to hit the United States. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, warned that the arrival of Irma’s life-threatening wind field and storm surge was imminent, and urged residents in coastal areas to leave immediately.
Residents load sheets of strand board on a truck as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Tuesday in Hialeah, Florida.