1. ITV Report

Family 'lucky to be alive' after being caught up in Hurricane Irma

Brendan and Sasha Joyce with their children Keiran, four, and Aiden, two. Credit: PA

A British family caught up in the centre of Hurricane Irma on the British Virgin Islands are "lucky to be alive" after the storm ripped apart the house where they had taken shelter.

Sasha Joyce, her husband Brendan and their children two children emerged to find almost the entire house where they had bunkered down in was destroyed.

Only the room they had been in had survived, said Mrs Joyce's cousin Clare Parker, who lives in London.

They were all in that room with the adults lying on top of the small children.

When they came out, the eye wall of the tornado had ripped the concrete house apart.

They walked out of there alive, which is miraculous and we are so grateful for. They are feeling lucky to be alive.

– Clare Parker
The aftermath of the storm on the British Virgin Islands. Credit: AP

Mr Joyce, 44, from Glasgow, has lived on the island for more than 10 years and works as a marina manager at Nanny Cay.

His wife Sasha, 34, is from the British island territory and their children Keiran, four, and Aiden, two, were born there.

As the storm approached, the family took shelter together inside Mrs Joyce's father home.

Although the family had lived through many hurricanes before, they realised that Irma would be a much larger storm.

They took precautions to shutter up the house and protect it from the storm as much as possible.

They are said to be stunned and distraught at the extent of the damage that the storm has caused on the island.

An aerial photograph shows the extent of the damage in the British territory. Credit: AP

Mr Joyce's sister Frances, from Glasgow, has spoken to him and said he is devastated by what has happened and worried for the future.

She said: "The first time he phoned, he phoned me in tears and said 'we're alive, there's nothing else'.

"He is really worried about food and shelter, and worried about how it's going to pan out.

"They have two little boys as well, so they are trying to keep them calm.

"Back in Scotland we're devastated as a family, we feel so helpless as we can't do anything for them, they're away over there. It's amazing that they are alive."