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  1. ITV Report

Richard Branson's son rescued from mountain peak with severe altitude sickness

The climbing team, including Sam Branson, wait for the helicopter at the summit of the Matterhorn Photo: Virgin Strive Challenge

Sir Richard Branson's son has been rescued from the peak of a mountain in the Swiss Alps after a bout of severe altitude sickness.

Sam Branson, 29, was close to the summit of the Matterhorn, on the border between Switzerland and Italy, when his team radioed for help.

Dramatic footage showed him heaving at the summit before being taken off the mountain in a rescue helicopter.

Sir Richard Branson said in a phone call to Good Morning Britain that his son was "literally dangling from the helicopter as they lowered him down".

Sam Branson (in yellow) at the summit of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps Credit: Virgin Strive Challenge

Mountain guide Kenton Cool said Sam began showing symptoms of exhaustion and altitude sickness around 200 metres from the peak.

By the time we got to the summit he was emotionally quite fragile. It was acute mountain sickness. He was dry heaving, vomiting and I honestly thought he was going to potentially pass out on me.

– Kenton Cool, Dream Guides

After the rescue, Sam said: "The idea of being winched off a mountain thousands of feet in the air was freaking me out".

He said he was "mentally and physically exhausted" but otherwise well.

Watching from ground level, Branson senior said he had "felt helpless" as he waited for news of the rescue operation.

He also tweeted this dramatic photo taken from the helicopter of the expedition team waving below.

Sam Branson was climbing the 14,692 foot (4,480 metre) mountain as part of the Virgin Strive Challenge, which raises money for young people's charity Big Change.

Following in the adventurous footsteps of his father, Sam has run three marathons, rowed across the English Channel and cycled to Vervier.

In a phone call to Good Morning Britain, Sir Richard Branson said there would be a party tonight to celebrate his son's dramatic escape: