Son of billionaire Richard Branson in emotional plea for help after Hurricane Irma decimates father's private island

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The son of billionaire Richard Branson has made an emotional plea for help after his father’s private island was flattened as the deadly Hurricane Irma swirled through the Caribbean on its path to Florida.

Sam Branson said he was flying out to areas hit by the devastating storm, which is now hurtling towards Florida, and pleaded: “If you have boats then please get them to the BVI [British Virgin Islands].”

His father’s private Caribbean retreat, Necker, was among islands in the UK territory and wider region to be devastated by the Category 5 storm – with the 67-year-old businessman and his team keeping safe by holing up in a concrete wine cellar.

In a post on Instagram, the younger Branson shared a video of himself preparing to visit and said it would be “harrowing” to see his destroyed family home.

He wrote: “Spent the day organising mental logistics to get myself and what people need the most out to the #bvi.

“Going to do my best to help the people on the ground there. If you have boats then please get them to the BVI.

“Stock them with tarpaulins, food, water, batteries, torches, clothes, water purification tablets and anything else you think might be useful.

“Thanks for all those that have helped me today. It been a big one.

“Going to be harrowing to see my home and so many others beloved place so decimated but will do all I can to get aid to the people that need it most!”

Mr Branson said he was hoping to contribute to the general relief effort and would be taking supplies including kids clothing, head torches and tarpaulin for people who have lost their homes.

At least 21 people are confirmed to have died after Irma, which was at one point the biggest storm ever in the Atlantic, barrelled through the Caribbean, flattening swathes of the British Virgin Islands as well as tiny islands such as Barbuda and St Martin.

Winds in excess of 150mph then lashed parts of Cuba as the hurricane drove towards Florida, where more than five million people have fled their homes in a major state-wide evacuation.

Officials in the Sunshine State warned “time is running out” to escape danger areas, calling on anyone remaining there to follow the mandatory evacuation orders.

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