The CHC-operated helicopter was carrying an oil crew from Aberdeen to a rig 86 miles north-west of Shetland when it ditched at around 3.30pm yesterday.
Three RNLI lifeboats were launched from Kirkwall in Orkney and Aith and Lerwick in Shetland to go to the aid of the 17 passengers and two crew.
When they arrived all 19 had already been taken from their life-raft by a fast rescue craft launched from the the Nord Nightingale vessel which was close to the scene, about 32 miles south-west of Shetland.
They were taken back to the tanker and flown by RAF and Bond rescue helicopters to Kirkwall in Orkney. No one was injured.
Last night passenger Michael Mashford said: "We got a call saying we were going to ditch, the pilots were absolutely amazing, they brought us down in a controlled landing using the flotation devices about half a mile from a large vessel.
Jorn Gudbrandsgard added: "It seemed very controlled. What can I say, to be in a situation like that, I think we had a lot of luck."
The ditching of the EC225 Super Puma is the fourth serious helicopter incident in three years and CHC have now said flights using the EC225 model are being temporarily suspended.
Nick Mair, regional vice president of western North Sea at CHC, said: "CHC's primary objective is always the safety of our passengers and people, and our pilots took actions today consistent with that commitment. We are delighted that our passengers and colleagues are safe and no one was injured.
"We think that the right thing to do is hold all scheduled flights using Super Puma/EC225 aircraft pending receipt of further technical information.
"An investigation team from the Air Accident Investigation Branch is involved in the matter and, with CHCs full support, will carry out a full inquiry into the cause of the incident."
CHC said arrangements are being made to return those involved back to Aberdeen from Orkney.
A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is travelling to the north east of Scotland to determine the cause of the incident.
A spokesman for Eurocopter, the French company which manufactures the Super Puma EC225, said it was investigating the incident with the operator and authorities "with the highest priority".
He said: "Eurocopter is not able to further comment at this stage and is mobilising a team of specialists to provide additional support alongside its existing personnel in Aberdeen."
Bristow Helicopters has also decided to stop operating the Super Puma model while the cause of the ditching is investigated.
A spokesman for the operator said: "Investigations into the incident are on-going and Bristow Helicopters Ltd have taken the decision to delay operations with our EC225 and AS332L2 Super Puma helicopters until further information is available.
"The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance to Bristow and we comply fully with the manufacturer's recommended maintenance and operational procedures for all of
"Bristow Helicopters remain totally committed to the highest standards of airworthiness for our fleet."
In May all 14 passengers and crew members on a Super Puma helicopter were rescued after it ditched about 30 miles off the coast of Aberdeen. It was on a scheduled flight from Aberdeen Airport to a platform in the North Sea.
Earlier 16 people died when a Super Puma plunged into the sea. Its gearbox failed while carrying the men to Aberdeen. The Bond-operated helicopter was returning from the BP Miller platform when it went down off the Aberdeenshire coast on April 1, 2009.
That happened about six weeks after another Bond Super Puma with 18 people on board ditched in the North Sea as it approached a production platform owned by BP. Everyone survived that accident.
A union official now wants operators to provide more safety assurances to offshore workers.
RMT offshore organiser Jake Molloy said: "The primary issue for the helicopter operators, in this case CHC, is to provide information as soon as possible about what forced this aircraft down, as it's the fourth event involving the EC Puma-type aircraft.
"There is inevitably going to be questions and concerns and we need to provide assurances, not just to the workers but to their families, that the primary means of transporting them to and from work is safe.
"We really need CHC to up their game and communicate as soon as and as transparently as possible so that we can assess what could or should be done to ensure safety going forward."
The Helicopter Safety Steering Group set up in 2009 will hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the incident but Mr Molloy hopes CHC will issue its own report before then.
"The steering group will discuss every aspect of it but I would hope CHC would put out their own report, preferably before people gather at the heliports to board their aircraft for the 40 or 50 helicopter flights out of Aberdeen every day," Mr Molloy said.
"It's fantastic news that everyone involved in this incident is safe and well, but nevertheless we've had a very serious incident and we need to know why that happened."
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