I believe the documentary stated they had no choice. Another season and it would have fallen through the ice forever. It was fly it off or lose it forever. They didn't have time to take it out piece by piece, and you saw the conditions just getting people in, let alone getting a B-29 out. That APU fire was just horribly tragic, though.
P.S. Nope, I didn't notice anything recently! I'm normally right under the landing pattern for JeffCo! I once had a few WW2 wards on final right over my back yard. At the movies once (a bit closer) getting out of the car had a B-17 low on final over head almost directly above, and before we got to the movies (103rd AMC 24) we had a B-24 fly by also (this a couple years back).
I'm surprised I didn't notice the B-17 around the 13th.