Christmas is always a deadly time of year for the residents of Ferndale, and 2018 has proved to be no exception.

Shortland Street aired its annual Christmas cliffhanger tonight, which saw justice served and left lives hanging in the balance.

Despite all the explosions, murders and car crashes that have marked the holiday season in year's previous, Chris Warner decided to charter a private plane to take him and his colleagues to his family lodge for the holidays.

Even with a dream sequence hinting at what was to come, the interminable surgeon still went on board, with Kate, Mo and Jack Hannah tagging along.

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They were only in the air for a short time before the premonition came true, with the pilot suffering a heart attack and sending them crashing back to earth.

The four were then left stranded in the wilderness with fellow passenger Denise, who exacerbated circumstances by hiding the satellite phone in order to mask her own dodgy activities.

While pilot Rob died from his injuries, the fates of father and son Mo and Jack were left hanging in the air.

While Jack suffered a broken leg and blood loss, the episode ended with Mo coughing blood and collapsing to the ground, imagining the voice of his daughter Pixie, who passed away in an emotional storyline in 2016.

Elsewhere, Nurse Kylie took a dark turn as she embarked on a vengeful quest after learning of her husband Dylan's murderous past.

When we last saw the pair, they had just crashed their car after Kylie learnt that he was responsible for the death of her sister, Julia.

While she pulled him out from the burning wreckage, the trauma of the revelation gnawed away at Kylie and quickly brought out her own dark side.

After extolling the cruelty of men, Kylie used a well-timed power cut to stab Ian Reid, the rapist who had attacked multiple characters earlier in the year.

Kylie confessed this to Dylan after he finally admitted his own crimes. She then used a passionate kiss to drug him and then suffocate him, claiming his life as well.

The hour-long episode managed to find some humour among the drama and, as usual, it was courtesy of receptionist Leanne and her IT boyfriend Damo.

The two avoided the fatal plane crash after Leanne had one of her "visions", sensing that something would go wrong.

She and Damo then squabbled after his Christmas sign suggested he'd been up to no good. Damo attempted to reconcile with her by proposing, but Leanne pushed him away and into the Christmas tree, which pushed him to the ground.

Meanwhile, Nurse Dawn was trying to spread Christmas cheer, unaware husband Ali has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Her attempts at a Santa costume were rebuked by Leanne, who unknowingly referenced Auckland's recent Santa Parade drama.

"If you want to be a female Santa, you ought to put a bit more heft into your ho's," she said scathingly, in what was one of the episode's few light moments.

Shortland Street will return to TVNZ 2 on January 14.