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Billionaires fled for doomsday bunkers in New Zealand as the coronavirus crisis escalated

Super-rich Americans have fled to New Zealand to hide out in their luxury bunkers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Quick-thinking Silicon Valley billionaires booked flights for New Zealand as soon as the COVID-19 crisis began to escalate. 

A number of executives managed to escape shortly before the country closed its borders to almost all travellers on March 16. 

Just weeks ago, doomsday bunker manufacturer, Rising S Co, got a desperate call from an executive based in New York – the epicentre of the outbreak in the US – asking how to open the secret door to his shelter.

His bunker, 11 feet underground in New Zealand, has never been used. 

‘He wanted to verify the combination for the door and was asking questions about the power and the hot water heater and whether he needed to take extra water or air filters,’ Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas-based company told Bloomberg.

‘He went out to New Zealand to escape everything that’s happening.

‘And as far as I know, he’s still there.’

Entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu (pictured) and his wife fled to New Zealand on March 12, fearing the borders would close. They left behind their furniture, friends and his cryptocurrency startup

Entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu (pictured) and his wife fled to New Zealand on March 12, fearing the borders would close. They left behind their furniture, friends and his cryptocurrency startup

Entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu (pictured) and his wife fled to New Zealand on March 12, fearing the borders would close. They left behind their furniture, friends and his cryptocurrency startup

Rising S Co. has installed about 10 bunkers in New Zealand over the past few years (pictured: Workers installing a bunker underground)

Rising S Co. has installed about 10 bunkers in New Zealand over the past few years (pictured: Workers installing a bunker underground)

Rising S Co. has installed about 10 bunkers in New Zealand over the past few years (pictured: Workers installing a bunker underground)

Paypal co-founder and Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel has a $4.7 million home in picturesque Queenstown (pictured), complete with its own panic-room

Paypal co-founder and Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel has a $4.7 million home in picturesque Queenstown (pictured), complete with its own panic-room

Paypal co-founder and Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel has a $4.7 million home in picturesque Queenstown (pictured), complete with its own panic-room

US billionaires have been doing doomsday preparation for years. They’ve been buying up property in the small island nation and building secret multi-million dollar shelters deep in the ground.  

The bunkers have been shipped from the US across New Zealand, there’s bunkers in Hamilton, Hanmer Springs and Wanaka.

Rising S Co. has installed about 10 bunkers in New Zealand over the past few years. 

The average bunker costs about $3 million but the price can reach about $8 million. 

A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, it comes with three master bedrooms, a fitness center, a sauna and even a swimming pool. 

New Zealand became the doomsday destination for the world’s elite after Sam Altman, former president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator, let slip he planned to flee to New Zealand if a pandemic ever hit.

However, it is understood he is still sheltering in San Francisco.

Doomsday bunkers (pictured) have been shipped from the US across New Zealand, there's bunkers in Hamilton, Hanmer Springs and Wanaka

Doomsday bunkers (pictured) have been shipped from the US across New Zealand, there's bunkers in Hamilton, Hanmer Springs and Wanaka

Doomsday bunkers (pictured) have been shipped from the US across New Zealand, there’s bunkers in Hamilton, Hanmer Springs and Wanaka

The average bunker costs about $3 million but the price can reach about $8 million. A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, it comes with three master bedrooms, a fitness center, a sauna and even a swimming pool

The average bunker costs about $3 million but the price can reach about $8 million. A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, it comes with three master bedrooms, a fitness center, a sauna and even a swimming pool

The average bunker costs about $3 million but the price can reach about $8 million. A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, it comes with three master bedrooms, a fitness center, a sauna and even a swimming pool 

US billionaires have been doing doomsday preparation for years. They've been buying up property in the small island nation and building secret multi-million dollar shelters deep in the ground (Pictured: A pantry inside a bunker)

US billionaires have been doing doomsday preparation for years. They've been buying up property in the small island nation and building secret multi-million dollar shelters deep in the ground (Pictured: A pantry inside a bunker)

US billionaires have been doing doomsday preparation for years. They’ve been buying up property in the small island nation and building secret multi-million dollar shelters deep in the ground (Pictured: A pantry inside a bunker)

Paypal co-founder and Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel also has a $4.7 million home in picturesque Queenstown, complete with its own panic-room. 

‘Saying you’re ”buying a house in New Zealand” is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. You’re getting apocalypse insurance,’ Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, told The New Yorker.

Entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu and his wife fled to New Zealand on March 12, fearing the borders would close. 

They left behind their furniture, friends and his cryptocurrency startup.

The pair are renting a three-bedroom house on the luxurious Waiheke Island, near Auckland, for US$2,400 a month.

A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, room sizes vary, with bunkbeds in some rooms and queen beds in others

A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, room sizes vary, with bunkbeds in some rooms and queen beds in others

A luxury bunker can sleep about 22 people, room sizes vary, with bunkbeds in some rooms and queen beds in others

New Zealand became the doomsday destination for the world's elite after Sam Altman, former president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator, let slip he planned to flee to New Zealand if a pandemic ever hit

New Zealand became the doomsday destination for the world's elite after Sam Altman, former president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator, let slip he planned to flee to New Zealand if a pandemic ever hit

New Zealand became the doomsday destination for the world’s elite after Sam Altman, former president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator, let slip he planned to flee to New Zealand if a pandemic ever hit

He is now working for Ao Air, a small New Zealand company designing an air filtration mask to rival the N95. 

Though the home is lacking its own doomsday bunker, it is surrounded by other wealthy residents, including former coach of the All Blacks Sir Graham Henry and packaging tycoon Graeme Hart.

Mr Dinulescu said they were ‘billionaire hunting’ when they were looking where to rent.

Mr Dinulescu said the pair won’t return to San Francisco until the virus has been eliminated. 

 

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