Richard Branson and son were 'seconds from death' as rocks crashed over their heads during gruelling mountain climb
Always a man of adventure, Sir Richard Branson was on his latest quest when he narrowly escaped death. Accompanied by his son Sam and nephew Noah Devereux, the billionaire businessman was on a mission to conquer Mont Blanc in order to complete the 33-day Virgin Strive Challenge - a 2,000 km trek across Western Europe - when the accident occurred.
Elaborating on the incident, Branson said that they narrowly escaped getting pinned down by falling rocks which were "the size of small cars". He also stated that there was "definitely a friendly star" watching over the family since they literally had to crawl behind large boulders in order to save themselves. Branson told the Press Association, "God forbid, a few seconds earlier it would not have been as pretty - so I'm very thankful we got through it. Three seconds earlier and we would all certainly have been killed."
While describing the incident further, he said that he had never been so terrified before. "I have never come so terrifyingly close to losing my son and other teammates and it all happened in a matter of seconds. One 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. We were all quite emotional and we were completely shattered and exhausted." Branson was accompanied by a team of almost 13 people who hiked, climbed, cycled, and used kayaks to complete their journey from Sardinia to Mont Blanc.
The team had set out to raise money for the charity Big Change which provides aid to disadvantaged young people in the UK. Sam too had taken to Instagram to post a video after they had reached the highest peak in Western Europe, where he mentioned that the trek was taken in order to support people in disadvantage.
Sam, who was stuck with his father during the boulder-rush, said, "Obviously being attached to my dad was scary enough going up because I love him. But there's that added element of concern outside which is yourself and the whole team to think about. We were hiding in fear, not knowing whether the rocks were falling directly on us or to the side – there was an overwhelming array of emotions."
Noah, who was watching everything from the step below, almost thought that father and son were dead. "It was just the sound of the rock-fall just slowly dissipating which was quite an eerie sound itself and then just complete silence. The noise and the size of the rocks coming down were completely terrifying."
Branson seemed to have made sure that his family would not hear anything about the incident until the entire team had climbed down completely safe. His daughter, Holly, said, "(I was told) 'you are going to see them a bit quicker than you thought' and I hung up the phone and I did start crying. I wasn't expecting it at all because we had had such a good journey (when we climbed Mont Blanc) six years ago I just didn't have any element of me that was nervous."