Published on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Actress is among heroines surviving fire on Branson-owned island

Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson says he plans to rebuild after aroaring fire at his 74-acre Necker's island destroyed the "Great House" that led towhat he called a heroine's role for a famous American actress.

Branson told the BBC that actress Kate Winslet of film’s “Titanic” fame helped carry his 90-year-old mother, Eve, to safety when the historic Great House caught fire during what Branson termed "a really bad tropical storm."

He said winds were high and that lightning struck the house round 4 a.m. in the morning when virtually everyone was sleeping.

Branson was staying with his wife in another house nearby.

Past guests at the island have included Princess Diana and Steven Spielberg.

By David Wilkening

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