At least five people have been killed and 15 more are missing after a mudslide tore through a small village in southern Chile near a popular national park, following a night of torrential downpours.

A video taken from a helicopter by Chilean police showed a vast area of the remote town of Villa Santa Lucia, near Chaiten in coastal Patagonia, buried beneath the mud as the landslide plowed its way down a flooded river valley.

According to authorities, four Chileans and a male tourist whose name and nationality have not been disclosed were killed in the mudslide.

Rescue workers were continuing to search through the debris for at least 15 people.

The mudslide also destroyed a school and several homes and roadways, as well as a voting centre ahead of Chile’s presidential election today.

President Michelle Bachelet declared the area a disaster zone.

"I have ordered rescue workers to put all the necessary resources toward protecting the people of Villa Santa Lucia," she said on social media.

Almost 12cm of rain fell in 24 hours, the country's Interior Ministry said, but weather conditions were expected to improve later in the day.

Villa Santa Lucia borders Chile's Corcovado National Park, a popular tourist region of volcanoes, fjords and vast forests.

The nearby Chaiten volcano erupted in 2008, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents.