The earthquake hit this morning at a depth of just 10 kilometres and was centred 86 kilometres north-west of Iquique in northern Chile.
Interior minister Rodrigo Penalillo says the victims were four men and a woman who died in the cities of Iquique and Alto Hospicio, either of a heart attack or after being crushed by debris.
The first waves struck Chile’s northern coast within 45 minutes of the quake, with roads left gridlocked as Chileans abandoned their coastal homes for higher ground.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says the wave has been measured at 2.11 metres at its highest off Iquique.
UPDATE! A tsunami warning that had been in place for regions including Chile and Peru has now been cancelled, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology says there is no tsunami danger for Australia or New Zealand. Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet has declared parts of northern Chile to be disaster zones
UPDATE! March 3, 2014: A magnitude 7.8 aftershock has struck off northern Chile, just a day after a massive earthquake struck the region, the US Geological Survey – USGS – says. The navy declared a tsunami alert after the most recent quake, which was initially reported as being of magnitude 7.4 ::