Chile earthquake sets off tsunami waves

Massive 8.3 magnitude tremor strikes off coast

Powerful 8.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Chile

A major earthquake just offshore rattled Chileans, killing five people and shaking the Earth so strongly the tremor was felt in places across South America. Authorities worked into the early hours Thursday assessing damage in several coastal towns that saw flooding from small tsunami waves set off by the quake.

The magnitude-8.3 quake hit off northern Chile on Wednesday night, causing buildings to sway in the capital of Santiago and prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning for the Andean nation's entire Pacific coast. People sought safety in the streets of inland cities, while others along the shore took to their cars to get to higher ground.

"Once again we must confront a powerful blow from nature," President Michelle Bachelet said in an address to the nation late Wednesday.