Tuesday 19 November 2019

'I'm not exaggerating' - billionaire Richard Branson 'seconds from death' in mountain climb with son

Emotional experience: Richard Branson and his son Sam Branson (right) during their climb of Mont Blanc in the Alps. Photo: PA
Emotional experience: Richard Branson and his son Sam Branson (right) during their climb of Mont Blanc in the Alps. Photo: PA

Josh Payne in Chamonix, France

Virgin boss Richard Branson and his son Sam were seconds from death as falling rocks "the size of small cars" crashed over their heads before they reached the summit of Mont Blanc.

The billionaire businessman said he felt there was "definitely a friendly star above our family" as they had to scramble behind large boulders during the dramatic incident.

He said the team of climbers were picked up by a helicopter after reaching the summit as they agreed the path back down was not worth the risk.

The 68-year-old, along with Sam and his nephew Noah Devereux, reached the top of the mountain on Saturday afternoon after completing the 33-day Virgin Strive Challenge - a 2,000km trek from Sardinia to the top of Mont Blanc - raising money for charity.

After completing the climb, Mr Branson said: "God forbid, a few seconds earlier it would not have been as pretty - so I'm very thankful we got through.

"There's definitely a friendly star above our family and it keeps a watchful eye over us.

"A side of a cliff had broken away from the mountain further up and seconds later huge boulders the size of small cars were bouncing towards us. Rocks rained down on us from every angle.

"I am not exaggerating when I say four of our team were seconds away from certain death.

"We were all quite emotional and we were completely shattered and exhausted."

Sam Branson said: "We were hiding in fear, not knowing whether the rocks were falling directly on us or to the side."

Irish Independent

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