Billionaire Richard Branson plans to weather the tremendous danger posed by Hurricane Irma – already among the most powerful storms to ever form on the Atlantic in recorded history – on his private Caribbean island resort.
“I will be on Necker alongside our team, as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years,” Branson, the 67-year-old founder of Virgin Group companies who frequently rubs elbows with celebrities and world leaders, revealed on Tuesday.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) September 5, 2017
Branson’s Necker Island is nestled among the British Virgin Islands, which remain directly in the path of the Category 5 storm. Irma made landfall on the eastern edge of the islands early Wednesday and is expected to bring staggering 185 mph winds down upon the island resort by Wednesday afternoon.
While the billionaire does not appear to have any qualms about staring down the eye of the storm, his visitors were not so courageous: “We had some lovely guests staying on Necker Island who have cut their trip short for safety reasons, and another group of guests have also postponed,” he said.
Branson remains confident that the “really strong” buildings dotting the 74-acre island should be able to withstand the worst of Irma’s catastrophic winds and torrential rainfalls.
In a statement posted to Virgin’s website, Branson even waxed poetic about the nature of hurricanes.
“It may sound strange, but I consider hurricanes one of the wonders of the natural world,” he said. “I beheld nature at its most ferocious. The power of the sea breaking over the cliff tops, the eerie hush when you are in the eye of the hurricane and then the roar of the winds, the lightning and the rain.”