If you cannot fix the issue. one solution is to re-install ESXi onto the host.
Obviously, install ESXi to new media / or a new USB drive to keep all existing storage intact
(Assuming you are using local disks for the datastore that the VM is on.
However, if the datastore is on an external device such as SAN or NAS you can try to mount the datastore / lun etc onto another host if you have one and access the VM from there by browsing the datastore and adding it back into the inventory of a new host)
Once I have the esxi booted on the host via usb drive, what do i do to navigate the old raid 5 array disks to look for what I want and copy it.
With ESXi, you should be able to see (or mount) the old datastore and see the files.
Alternatively, if you're familiar with linux, you could run a live distro, install vmfs-tools and mount the datastore in linux: