KFC Yum! Center

KFC Yum! Center

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – An escalator at the KFC Yum! Center malfunctioned as basketball fans were leaving the arena Thursday night, resulting in at least several injuries, a building spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

The incident occurred after the University of Louisville women’s basketball team beat the University of Connecticut before an announced crowd of 17,023, the largest to watch a women’s college basketball game in the nation this season.

Twitter users reported that an escalator that connects the main arena floor with the top level began moving quickly, and a video posted online shows people bunched together at the exit. It is one of two such lifts in the arena lobby.

Several fans were hurt, but arena officials aren't aware of any serious injuries, Yum! Center spokeswoman Sandra Moran said in an email Friday morning. 

The cause of the incident is under investigation, and plans call for Kentucky's escalator inspector to conduct an inspection and arena consultants to service the escalator, she said.

"We regret this incident occurred and are doing all we can to ensure the escalator is working properly and safe for our guests before it is used at an upcoming event," she said. 

It's unclear if the escalator will be back in service for Saturday's 2 p.m. men's basketball game between U of L and the University of North Carolina, she said.

As the escalator sped up Thursday night, one man said he jumped off and pressed an emergency button, shutting down the escalator. A woman who said she was on the escalator posted on Twitter that she suffered a sprained knee.

Mark Ennis, a radio host for 93.9 The Ville, wrote on Twitter at 9:01 p.m. that an escalator had “failed and dumped a bunch of people going dangerously fast.”

Another radio host for the station, Mark Blankenbaker, tweeted at 9:05 p.m. that the escalator was “moving too fast and smoking.”

Moran said arena officials aren't aware of similar malfunctions involving the escalator. 

Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

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Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation and local and state government.