Neither could I, the disk just wasn't there. But the recovery software took care of it easily, even if it did take forever.
I pulled that rabbit out of my hat a couple of months ago, but it's not for the faint-hearted ;)
Nice trick, but I'm a safety nut and try not to alter a drive that's died. Like you said, not for the faint-hearted, but you pulled it off!
Of course, you could say the same thing about brain surgery or assembling nuclear weapons - if you know what you're doing, and you're careful, it's not all that dangerous. But that still doesn't mean it's a good idea for John and Jane Enduser to take a whack at it ;)