Kate Winslet Plays Real Life Heroine As Fire Breaks Out on Branson's Necker Island
Hollywood actress Kate Winslet has escaped a raging fire on Richard Branson's private island in the Caribbean in the early hours of Monday morning. The actress was enjoying her Caribbean holidays with her two sons when lightening struck the Great House.
Richard Branson’s luxurious Caribbean home has been reduced to ashes and debris after a fire broke out in the early hours of Monday morning.
While Hurricane Irene raged through the region, lightening struck the Great House on Necker Island, causing it to catch fire. Hollywood actress Kate Winslet and her two sons were spending their Caribbean holidays as guests on the private island when they were woken by Branson’s 25-year-old son, Sam, who had heard explosions coming from the stone and wood mansion.
The Virgin business tycoon was staying in a villa 100 yards from the house with his wife and son. When the alarm was raised, Branson ran naked towards the flames which broke out just before 4am.
Among the people who had been enjoying their holidays in the British Virgin Islands at the luxury retreat were Branson’s 29-year-old daughter, Holly who is planning to get married on the island later this year, and several of his nephews, nieces and friends.
Speaking to ITV News, the 61-year-old billionaire said: “Around 20 people were in the house and they all managed to get out and they are all fine.
“We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90mph. A big lightning storm came around 4am and hit the house. It took hold incredibly quickly, with flames 100ft high. It ripped through the house very quickly.
“Sam heard explosions in the main house and raised the alarm. He and my nephew Jack rushed to the house and helped get everyone out.
“Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly and some of her friends were also staying. My mother was there and they managed to get her out and she is fine.
“The main house is completely destroyed and the fire is not yet completely out. My office was based in the house and I have lost thousands of photographs and my notebooks, which is very sad. But all family and friends are well – which in the end is all that really matters.”
Winslet gave an Oscar-winning performance after rescuing Branson’s 90-year-old mother, Eve, from the flames and crumbling building.
Branson commented on Winslet’s star role during the incident and said: “It was she who carried my mother out of the house. She said it was like being on a film set where you’re waiting for the words “cut” but they just don’t come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation.
“She carried my Mum out of the house. My Mum is 90 and can walk but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else but anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible.”
Necker Island is Branson’s official residence and his family and friends regularly take holidays to the British Virgin Islands. He rents out the Great House and surrounding shacks from $33,000 a night to wealthy and high profile guests seeking private Caribbean holidays. The island boasts white sand beaches, lush green tropical surroundings and turquoise ocean waters.
Branson added that he plans to rebuild the house, saying: “It’s very much the Dunkirk Spirit here. We want to rebuild the house as soon as we can. We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay in work.
“There’s a lot of damage and we won’t be able to stick it back together again right away. It was a beautiful house.”
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 21:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Caribbean and Costa Rica Browse all
Dive into the warm water of Varadero beach and relax under the caribbean sunshine
- Enjoy a fantastic tour
- Book now and benefit from huge savings with the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic to Varadero offer!
- Suites feature a separate living area and Tropical suites feature breathtaking views of the sea
- Golf lovers can play on the nearby Varadero 18 hole golf course
Stay close to all the action in a fabulous resort that's part of a beautiful ecological reserve and sits right next to Xcaret, Cancun's number one theme park.
- Exclusive discount to the eco-archaeological Xcaret Park
- Enjoy access to 11 Restaurants and 10 Bars & access to 5 Swimming Pools
- Limitless all-inclusive fun and thrills for everyone in a beautiful eco-reserve facing a glorious beach
Stay at the luxurious Dreams resort with various benefits including a room upgrade to make your holiday extra special
- Huge Savings when staying in Preferred Club rooms or suites
- Enjoy moonlit themed parties, great music shows and outdoor cinema screenings on the beach
- A wide choice of a la carte themed restaurants and chic bars ensure there is something to suit everyone
- The Explorer's Kids Club has a fully supervised children's programme with various different activities
Stay at a Havana hotel brimming with history then head off to a brand-new beachfront resort in Varadero
Relish the timeless charms of Cuba from the comfort of Cuba’s most cutting edge hotels
- Stay at two of Cuba’s most cutting edge hotels, bursting with modern comforts
- Relish an all-inclusive beach retreat, boasting an overabundance of facilities
- Explore Havana’s charismatic, timeless and bustling streets
One of Havana’s most historically popular mafia-run hotels of the 50s, the Capri is a legendary property with over...
Soak up the history of Havana as well as the magnificence of Varadero beach on an unforgettable twin centre holiday to...
If you want to really feel Cuba's beating heart and pulsating rhythms, this is one of the best for an unforgettable...
Escape to the pristine beaches of the south coast of Barbados for a holiday you will never forget. This is the perfect...
St Lawrence Gap is famous for its many restaurants, great shopping and lively nightlife. This 1.3 km stretch of road,...
This is the place to be if you're looking for a sun-drenched holiday by the sea. Rostrevor Hotel is one of the most...