On Christmas Day, former Home and Away actress Jessica Falkholt posed next to her parents and younger sister for a family portrait.
But less than 24 hours after the loving picture their family had been destroyed, with a horror Boxing Day car crash killing parents Lars, 69, and Viv, 60, and leaving sisters Jessica and Annabelle fighting for life.
Jessica, 28, and Annabelle, 21, were pulled from the firey wreck by heroic witnesses after the tragic head-on collision at Mondayong, on the NSW south coast, on Boxing Day morning.
Relatives of the Falkholt’s told Daily Mail Australia they spent Christmas Day together with other family at Ulladulla and had sent well-wishing text messages to loved ones.
Along with the text messages the family-of-four sent a photo of them smiling happily arm-in-arm in front of grape vines – unaware it would be their last together.
A photo shows the family of a Home and Away actress Jessica Falkholt (right) smiling on Christmas Day, just hours before they were involved in a horror car crash. Lars, 69, (far left) and Vivian, 60, (left) were both killed, while Annabelle, 21, (right) and Jessica, 28, (far right) are in Intensive Care
Jessica (left) – a former Home and Away actress – and her younger sister Annabelle (right) are both fighting for their lives in hospital after the devastating head-on crash on Boxing Day
A devastated relative of the family revealed she received a text message from Vivian on Christmas Day and said the Falkholt’s were in good spirits.
‘Vivian texted me saying: “We’re having a great day, hope you are too”,’ their relative said.
‘I replied saying, “When are you guys coming back?” and she said they were coming back tomorrow (Boxing Day).’
Jessica – known for playing ‘Hope Morrison’ on Home and Away – underwent surgery at St George Hospital on Thursday and is currently in a stable condition, but remains in a coma.
‘Jessica just came out of a major operation and that went well,’ the relative said.
‘The quick update is the op went better than expected. They were doing something to her bowel, her arm and her lungs, they were the main parts.’
The relative said there had been no update to the condition of Annabelle, who is also still in a coma at Liverpool Hospital.
Family members are spending time by the bedsides of both girls, neither of who are aware their parents are dead.
Relatives of the girls’ father Lars are currently travelling to Australia from their home in Sweden, while Vivian’s family is mostly based in Sydney.
‘We’re a big Italian and Swedish family so all of us are sticking together and going between the two,’ a cousin of the girls told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We don’t get many updates we just get to be with them. ICU (staff) are amazing but they have jobs to do and we’d rather they look after the girls then worry about us.’
The driver of the other vehicle, a Toyota Prado 4WD, was a known drug user and had been jailed for driving offences.
Craig Anthony Whitall, who also died in the horrific crash, was previously jailed for driving while disqualified and driving on P-plates, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Mr Whitall was driving home from a methadone clinic when the tragic incident occurred
The sisters were injured in a horrific Boxing Day crash which killed their parents, Lars Falkholt, 69, and Vivian, 60. They were identified with dental records after being burned in the aftermath of the crash
Craig Anthony Whitall was a known drug user and had been jailed for driving offences
Mr Whitall’s son took to Facebook to pay an emotional tribute to his father
Mr Whitall was reportedly driving home from a methadone clinic at the time of the tragic accident.
Witness told police they saw Mr Whitall’s white Toyota Prado cross the centre line of the road twice before it crashed head-on into the Falkholt’s Mazda.
Mr Whitall had been charged with more than 60 offences by police before his death.
Sources told the Daily Telegraph Mr Whitall was ‘well known’ to police in Ulladulla and had a criminal history of more than 60 offences.
The coronial investigation into the crash will focus on whether Mr Whitall was under the influence of drugs during the crash.
His son Shane took to Facebook to pay an emotional tribute to his father.
‘I love you with all my heart dad and will forever miss you,’ Shane wrote.
‘You were my hero I don’t give a f**k what anyone says you showed me a lot in my life more than you’ll ever know.
Former Home and Away actress Jessica Falkholt is fighting for her life in hospital after the crash which killed both her parents
Pictured: Jessica’s character on Home and Away being arrested by fellow actress Pia MIller
‘It’s such a tragedy to lose you I love you Dad RIP,’ the post read.
Mr Whitall was driving home to Ulladulla from a Nowra methadone clinic on Boxing Day.
Methadone is prescribed to heroin addicts as they attempt to wean themselves off the drug.
It isn’t illegal for a driver to have methadone in their system but they can be charged if it is proven any substance impaired their ability to control a vehicle safely.
A witness to the crash pulled Jessica (pictured) and her sister Annabelle from the horror smash
Jessica appeared as Hope Morrison on Home and Away in 2016, and also on Underbelly: Badness and in stage plays. Pictured: Jessica on screen
Mr Whitall’s family also released a statement saying that their ‘hearts were broken’ after his death.
‘Not only for our loss but also for the loss the Falkholt family are feeling.’
Craig Anthony Whitall went by aliases including Craig Andrew Whitall and Jamie Robert Wilson.
He was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified in 2011.